A psychologist is a person who studies human behavior, emotion, and mental states. While anyone with a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field may be referred to as a psychologist, the term is commonly associated with psychologists who provide therapy and clinical assessments.
Training and Licensure
Psychologists are generally members of the American Psychological Association. To practice as a psychologist or to market themselves using the term, psychologists must obtain a state license. Licensing requirements vary slightly in each state, but may require a licensing examination, annual or biennial continuing education classes, and a certain number of supervised clinical hours.
Roles of Psychologists
Psychologists fill a wide variety of psychological roles. These include:
- Clinical psychologist – Specialists who may provide individual, group, or couples therapy.
- Forensic psychologist – Psychologists involved with the judicial system who may fill a number of functions including treating incarcerated persons, performing court-ordered evaluations, and assessing the competence of criminal defendants to stand trial.
- Comparative psychologists – Comparative psychologists study the behavior of non-human animals, and may apply their research to human behavior.
- School psychologist – These psychologists provide psychological services such as assessment, counseling, and academic testing in a school setting.
Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist
Psychologists are easily confused with psychiatrists because both specialists have doctoral degrees. However, unlike psychiatrists, psychologists do not have medical degrees and therefore cannot prescribe medication. However, some advocacy groups have lobbied state legislatures for prescribing rights, arguing that psychologists are qualified to assess and diagnose mental illnesses and that giving them the right to prescribe medication can benefit clients and reduce healthcare costs. In Louisiana, psychologists who have master’s degrees in psychopharmacology in addition to their doctoral degree may prescribe medication under the supervision of and in consultation with the patient’s medical doctor. Psychologists in Louisiana who can prescribe medications are referred to as medical psychologists.
- Colman, A. M. (2006). Oxford dictionary of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Medical psychologist may prescribe medication. (n.d.). Louisiana Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.louisianapsychologist.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1
Last Updated: 04-18-2016
Please fill out all required fields to submit your message.
Invalid Email Address.
Please confirm that you are human.
- 3 comments
- Leave a Comment
JanJune 24th, 2019 at 8:41 AM
I need HELP!!! My son has Schizophrenia. He is 37 years old. I have been taking care of him the whole time with no help. I am in need of a Social Worker to help me. Last week he acted out and left home and when the police found him he was in the middle of traffic. He is now in a Theraputic place. I need to know where I can find a Social worker to help me and son. Thank you!!!
The GoodTherapy TeamJune 24th, 2019 at 11:30 AM
Thanks for your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to visit our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your postal/zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a social worker specifically, or someone who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html
Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list, you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Please contact us if you have any questions.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
AaronFebruary 12th, 2023 at 6:34 AM
yo jan, you good?
Leave a Comment
By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.