What Is The Difference Between A Therapist And A Psychologist?

When it comes to getting help for our problems and improving our lives there's a selection of different professionals out there. Whether you're looking for help or looking for career advice knowing the difference between the different definitions of counselors is important. This should help you clarify the difference between a therapist and a psychologist as well as a few others.


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Psychologists have a degree in psychology and often have taken advanced studies in the same field and even achieved doctorate or PhD study levels. They may also be continuing to study in the same field or do research on topics that interest them along with colleagues or as faculty for higher education facilities. Their job is to diagnose patients and clients and determine treatments based on their observations. They have a strong role in providing support and guidance and can help patients make decisions, understand what they're going through and clarify their feelings to better determine their next step. They often work as part of a team when it comes to tackling a patient's problems, commonly with a psychiatrist. While they can't prescribe medication the psychiatrist can, so this pair complements each other well in treatment.


Source: psychcentral.com

Therapists on the other hand can encompass any number of different professions, many without official studies or degrees in their field. The term therapist has often been used to encompass life coaches, social workers, and a variety of counselors; and because of this they may hold a degree in various fields if they do hold one including an MD, PhD or Masters. While they may also provide guidance and support, their function is altogether different based on their area of interest and their level of qualification.

What is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?

The biggest difference between a therapist and a psychologist has to be the fact that psychologist is a trained social scientist. Their studies lead them deeper into counseling and research and are determined with the letters PsyD rather than just PhD, though there is a PhD in Clinical Psychology which is based more on theory and less on actual counseling methods. While either can practice therapy, both must still spend years under supervision of other licensed practitioners before being granted a license of their own to practice.

Psychologists usually diagnose mental disorders and work with doctors to determine patient medications. They are very much part of the recognized healthcare niche while a therapist might not even have a license or even training.

Source: wku.edu

Therapists do have their merits, but for different programs. It's rather like saying you wouldn't go to your vet if your own foot hurt. A therapist is someone who can counsel, advise and help you with feelings and decisions within a structured support network. In fact, a therapist can be a lot more flexible because they're not so strictly bound with licensure and codes so they work with much more varied means. Therapists might include marriage or relationship counselors or those who work with social care to help people with disabilities adjust. You can also count therapists who work with certain methods like drama therapists or speech therapists under this banner.

Hopefully this clarifies it somewhat. There's so many initials and letters out there that it's often hard to know the difference from one type of therapist to another. When searching for the right professional for you research is important, that way you know your therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor has the right tools to help you. Sites like BetterHelp give you a range of professionals to choose from all in one location.

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