Psychologist vs Therapist? It Depends on What you are Struggling With…

December 1, 2021

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

-Carl Jung

People seek mental health services for various reasons. If you are considering talking with someone about what is going on in your life, it is vital to find the right professional to get the help you need. There are many different specialties and types of education that a mental health professional might have. So, psychologist vs. therapist? Knowing how they differ, what various degrees and certifications mean, and how to find the right counselor, is essential to finding a happier and healthier new you.

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is someone who has formal training in the field of psychology. A practicing psychologist has a professional and clinical education to help people. Their objective is to teach more effective ways of navigating the many complexities of mental health behaviors.

A psychologist has to attend many formal years of undergraduate and graduate degree training courses to become licensed by the state where they practice. They have a vast number of different techniques that they can use according to a patient’s unique values, goals, circumstances, and personality characteristics.

Someone trained as a psychologist who has a doctoral degree, either a PsyD, EdD or a Ph.D., has one of the highest levels of psychological training of all mental health professionals. As a result, they spend an average of seven years or more, both obtaining their education and receiving hands-on training.

What a Psychologist Does

A practicing psychologist can handle many different conditions. And they can also implement a vast number of tools to treat various types of mental health problems. Therefore, they can handle simple emotional issues like the crisis that stems from a breakup. Or clinical conditions like anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.

They also can perform mental health assessments to diagnose and treat mental health conditions. The tools used to assess a patient’s feelings, behaviors, and thoughts can work to evaluate a patient’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses, vocational preference and aptitude, neuropsychological functioning, and personality characteristics.

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How Psychologists Can Help

Psychologists are trained to improve a host of various mental health problems. They use different evidence-based treatments to improve the lives of the patients they serve. Although the most commonly used is “therapy,” often referred to as talk therapy or psychotherapy, they have many different ways to approach a problem according to what will serve a patient best.

Common types of therapy used by a psychologist are cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, or a combination of several therapies employed together. Psychologists also seek to work with individuals, groups, couples, and families. Some psychologists have training in hypnotherapy to help with different conditions like mood disorders, pain management, anxiety, and depression. In instances where pharmaceuticals might benefit the patient, it is usually necessary to seek the help of a psychiatrist, because they can prescribe pharmaceutical aids.

What is the Psychologist vs. Therapist Training Protocol?

If a practicing psychologist wants to obtain a doctoral degree, they have to have a minimum of four to six years of full-time course work from an accredited university or college, post-graduate degree. While attending graduate school, they must also have at least one full year of a supervised internship. And only after completing the requirements they can obtain a license, specific to the state where they intend to practice. Once they have a license, they have to attend continuing education courses according to licensing and regulation standards.

Where Do Psychologists Work?

Most psychologists work independently in their own practice. Others might work in schools, hospitals or prisons, universities and colleges, community and mental health clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, business and industry, and long-term care centers.

What is a Therapist vs. Psychologist?

Someone who is a practicing therapist may or may not be a psychologist. A therapist, sometimes referred to as a psychotherapist, is a mental health professional who has a therapist’s license. Their goal is to improve the emotional and cognitive skills of the patients they serve. However, a therapist is not necessarily a psychologist. And they do not necessarily need to have the same credentials.

They can work in a variety of different capacities such as a social worker, marriage and family counselor, and psychologist. A therapist approaches mental health conditions and crises with a behavioral therapy approach. And in some states, the term therapist can include other occupations like a life coach and other professionals who might not have the same requirements, licensure, and degrees that are required to be a practicing psychologist.

Psychologist vs. Therapist: What are the Major Differences?

A psychologist is a professional who is trained in the mental health and human behavior process. And they can work in a variety of clinical settings. Psychology can encompass many different levels: doctorate (PsyD or Ph.D.), master’s, or bachelors. A psychologist can also obtain an advanced degree for licensing. It is required to work independently or to offer patient care in schools, counseling, and clinical settings.

A psychologist vs. therapist can both diagnose and treat mental health conditions and disorders. They often work in combination with a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications. They are also qualified to work in a clinical or academic setting.

A Therapist vs. Psychologist

A therapist vs. psychologist is an umbrella term that is used to describe any professional who is trained and most often has obtained a license, to offer a variety of mental health rehabilitation and treatments to various individuals.

Therapist tracts can include psychoanalysts, social workers, life coaches, marriage counselors, and other subspecialties. Their goal is to provide guidance and support to help their patients. And to help find a better way to navigate life circumstances. They provide the support necessary to develop a healthier set of behaviors. And to develop the competencies to get through the complexities of life.

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So, Which Mental Health Professional Right for you?

If you are struggling with a mental health concern, it’s vital to find the right professional. For acute and crisis situations, often, finding a therapist is enough to discover more productive and healthier ways to deal with stress. And also, to get past the hurdles that life can throw at you.

On the other hand, if you are struggling with a chronic condition that is affecting your quality of life, and one for which you can’t seem to get past, then a psychologist might be a better option. It might, therefore, be necessary for you to find someone who can both diagnose and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Finding the Appropriate Mental Therapy Support

The key is to understand where along the chronic versus acute spectrum you fall. And to accept the help that you need. If your mental health status is having a profound impact on your health and well-being, it might be necessary to have a clinical assessment. That way, you can ensure that there isn’t more than just an acute crisis looming.

Once evaluated, finding a therapist to match your needs is essential. If you need someone to talk with who can guide you in the right direction, and help to get you past the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you are struggling with, a professional from ChatOwl might be a great place to start. If they believe that you might need more than the help they can provide, they can make recommendations about how to proceed.

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