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  • Writer's pictureDr. Natalie Pujo

What’s the difference between a Psychologist and other types of therapists?

Here’s a quick guide on the difference between a psychologist and other mental health therapists.

This is confusing for many. The term “therapist” is general and often undefined, but typically denotes any provider of mental health treatment. That’s why it’s important to find out whether a provider is properly credentialed to manage your specific needs. Specifically, make sure she or he is licensed. There are some states in which a person may advertise as a therapist without any relevant education or experience.

For instance, licensed, clinical Psychologists have doctoral degrees – either a PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy) or a PsyD (Doctorate of Psychology). Essentially, they have 4-5 years of post-graduate training, including training with clients in practicums, and two years of pre- and post- doctoral internships under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

Other licensed health professionals such as Marriage and Family therapists (MFT) or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) typically have a 2-year Master’s degree with practicum and internships. They are generally not required to be supervised by a licensed psychologist.

If you’re seeking to understand a therapist’s credentials, ask about their specific training, as it can vary widely: What populations has she or he worked with? Individuals, couples or families? What types of settings? Private practice, inpatient, community mental health clinic, etc.

I’m a licensed clinical Psychologist. You can learn more about my training, education and area of expertise here.

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