Maybe you are thinking to go to therapy or you’re already going to therapy but you are so confused about it. Do you have the questions in your mind who is all of these professionals in the mental health industry? And who is the best fit for your needs?

For the general public often it is extremely confusing that who does what in the field of psychology. That’s the reason many people think psychologists and therapists are the different names of a single profession. The terms psychologist and therapist are apparently similar so it’s quite understandable why people get confused. Still, there is a thin line that differentiates both professionals. 

To get your answer on how to differentiate between a psychologist and a therapist keep on reading the below information. 

A psychologist is a mental health professional who studies how a person thinks, feels,s and behaves from a scientific viewpoint and then applies his knowledge to help people understand, explore and change their behavior. They also engage in research, practice, and teaching of the topics related to human thinking, feelings, and behaviors. 

Many psychologists conduct basic studies on how the human mind functions. They investigate memory and learning, as well as reactivity to social stimuli, as well as how and why we avoid learning. They also research the development of children’s brain processes, as well as the detection and treatment of disease, regardless of whether the cause is organic, chemical, or emotional, and cognitive.

Psychology is a diverse field, as well as the role of a psychologist. Obtaining a psychology degree does not guarantee employment as a clinical psychologist. There are many other settings where a psychologist can pursue a career or present their services such as;

  • Clinical Psychologist: Clinical psychologists work with patients one-on-one to diagnose and treat mental diseases as well as provide psychotherapy.
  • Child Psychologist: A child psychologist deals specifically with children and their issues.
  • Forensic Psychologist: In the legal and criminal justice systems, forensic psychologists assist experts in understanding the psychological backdrop and characteristics of their cases.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologists: study how can a person make an organization run more effectively or how can we help team building processes. 

Some people confuse therapists with psychologists. But unlike psychologists they don’t provide a diagnosis they are mainly concerned with interventions in terms of therapy. A therapist is trained and specialized in non-medical treatment(talk therapy) plans to help their clients to overcome emotional psychological and some psychiatric disorders. Therapists can work with individuals, couples, groups, or families. 

Talk therapy is used by therapists to help you cope with general emotional distress, severe trauma, or condition. They can help with anything from daily stress to sorrow to specific mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Talk therapy is sometimes used in conjunction with drugs or changes in one’s lifestyle. The following points will further elaborate on the role of psychotherapist;

  • Provide a solution to your issue.
  • Participate in a debate about it.
  • Assist you in comprehending what you’re going through.
  • Examine your exchange.
  • Assist you in changing your behavior.

You need to see a psychotherapist if you want help in the following areas;

  • Resolving issues in relationships
  • Relieving worry or tension caused by work or other circumstances
  • Adapting to significant life changes
  • Managing negative emotions
  • Getting to grips with a significant health problem
  • Getting Over Abuse
  • Taking care of sexual issues
  • Improving your sleeping habits

What Degree Do You Need To Be a Psychologist?

Psychologists are not only concerned with the treatment and diagnosis of mental illnesses in fact some psychologists study human behavior and patterns of their thoughts and emotions. So, a psychologist’s degree and training depend on the field he is working in. For example, industrial or organizational psychologists are concerned with human behavior in their workplace and may not study individual mental health. Similarly, a clinical psychologist is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health illnesses and they have to master all therapies along with the study of each disorder.

Psychologist VS. Psychiatrist

To work, a psychologist should have at least a master’s degree. A doctorate in psychology is required for most practicing psychologists. Pursuing a higher-level degree can boost your demand and efficiency. Clinical and counseling psychology are two of the most frequent psychology degrees. After earning a master’s degree in psychology and an undergraduate degree in any area, psychologists must complete an internship or postdoctoral training period of at least one year. Anyone holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology can apply for a master’s degree in psychology.

Psychologists can provide counseling and psychotherapy, as well as testing and treatment for mental illnesses, once they have obtained their license and satisfied the state’s requirements, as well as any further specialist qualifications. However, because they are not medical experts, they are unable to prescribe medications. Rather, psychologists work in tandem with medical professionals to provide these services.

What Qualifications Do you Need to Be a Therapist?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar subject is required to work as a psychotherapist. Following that, one can pursue a master’s degree in psychotherapy. While pursuing a master’s degree, one can begin accumulating the requisite clinical experience for licensure.

Before being formally “licensed” to practice, a candidate who has completed their supervised hours must obtain approval from their region’s licensing board to sit for a standardized clinical licensure exam. They can practice while waiting for licensure with a conditional license that commonly includes the words “associate” or “intern” before their credentials.

The comparison below presents one or more specializations a psychologist and therapist pursue during their education and training. 

PsychologyTherapy
Neuroscience
Developmental psychology
Social psychology
Clinical psychology
Cognitive psychology
Industrial/organizational psychology
Psycholinguistics
Play therapy (for young children)
Marriage, divorce, or couples counseling
Family counseling
Grief counseling
Social work
Life coaching
Multicultural training
Career counseling
Community counseling
School counseling
Substance abuse
Addiction counseling

The therapist is an umbrella term that can even include speech therapist, occupational therapist but when referring to a therapist in the field of mental health they are usually called “psychotherapist” or someone who practices talk therapy. Now there are many types of psychotherapists as well, like licensed professional counselors, social counselors, or LMFT(licensed marriage and family therapy). 

Whereas, psychologists refer to particularly someone who has gotten a doctorial degree in psychotherapy and diagnosis. Although psychologists are primarily concerned with the treatment, many are also well-versed in academic literature and psychological research. Behavioral science research, in particular, informs psychologists’ education and training, providing insights into how people with mental health conditions respond to stress and other external factors. Behavioral science also includes clinical-based treatments.

When deciding on the type of professional you want to see, you have a lot to think about. Consider the issues you wish to address first. Then, in your location, look for psychologists and therapists who specialize in these difficulties. Before scheduling an initial session, make sure to evaluate the cost of treatment as well as feedback from previous clients.