Why work with a Psychologist?
A psychologist has earned a doctoral degree, either a Ph.D (doctor of philosophy in psychology) or a Psy.D (doctor of psychology). This is an advanced degree that takes on average 4-5 years (Psy.D) or six years (Ph.D) after undergraduate to complete. A Ph.D typically emphasizes both research and clinical experience, whereas a Psy.D typically has a clinical and practice management focus. Most doctoral level therapists receive over 5,000 hours of training with clients before getting licensed to serve the public.
Psychologists receive broader training than master’s level therapists in assessment, research, and treatment of a wide range of problems. Psychologists are more likely to work with serious mental illness, although many like myself enjoy working with a wide range of issues.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) have master’s degrees, which is a two year advanced degree in counseling psychology (MA), marriage and family therapy (MFT), or in social work (LCSW or MSW). Moreover, helpful therapy depends more on the competency of the therapist and the connection you have with them in the therapeutic relationship than on someone’s education level.
Also, a psychologist is different from a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (degrees are either an M.D. or D.O.) who complete medical school and then receive additional training to treat mental health disorders using primarily medication. Some psychiatrists offer psychotherapy, but this is less common with the advent of managed care. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) have a master’s degree and also prescribe medicine and some psychotherapy.