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A psychologist is a mental health professional who has received a doctorate degree in psychology. A psychologist studies how people behave, think and feel in order to better understand the human psyche. In a setting like Union Square Practice, every psychologist is a clinical psychologist, as opposed to a research psychologist who works in a lab or academic setting. Psychologists are able to work in various places including schools, hospitals, private offices, and correctional facilities.

How are clinical psychologists trained?

Individuals have to go through a lengthy and arduous process to become a licensed clinical psychologist. After completing a bachelor’s degree, they go through between 5 – 8 years of training to obtain their doctoral degree where they study ethics, statistics, methods of therapy, assessment strategies and the psychological, cognitive and sociocultural basis of behavior. After finishing their doctoral coursework, they must complete a year-long clinical internship where they see patients with extensive supervision from experienced clinicians.

Once they complete their clinical internship and receive their doctoral degree, they must pass a national exam and apply for state licensure. Psychologists also receive additional training to become specialists in certain fields, such as sport psychology.

What’s the Difference Between a PhD and a PsyD?

A clinical psychologist may hold two kinds of doctoral degrees, a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or PsyD (Doctor of Psychology). Neither degree is “better” than the other. However, those holding PhDs receive additional training on how to design and conduct psychological research, while a PsyD focuses primarily on assessing and treating patients.

What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Both psychologists and psychiatrists are trained in providing therapy. For many, the easiest distinction is that psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Psychologists may have additional training or experience in a type of therapy or assessment, such as mindfulness therapy.

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