The Difference Between a Psychologist and a Therapist: Which One Is Best for You?
Therapists and psychologists are two different professionals that work with patients to establish a treatment plan to address mental health issues, each with their own areas of expertise.
Therapists are often licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists who generally provide talk therapy to help individuals work through mental health problems. On the other hand, a psychologist will have a doctoral degree and while they are not medical doctors and cannot perform some functions such as prescribing medications, they may focus on research, testing for psychological disorders, and providing treatment also utilizing talk therapy.
Mental health professionals must be trained and educated to best serve their patients. Not only do mental health professions vary in the type of training they receive before practicing, but also there are varying levels of education that go into those fields as well.
This blog post will explore the differences between these two professionals; we’ll discuss what they do and how they differ from one another as well as some pros and cons to both types of therapy practices.
How to Choose Between a Therapist and Psychologist
Choosing between a therapist and psychologist can be difficult given the many similarities in their training.
All psychologists and therapists have some level of higher education. Masters degrees are required, but doctorates can be achieved in certain fields as well.
The difference is that therapists have typically completed graduate-level courses and master’s degrees, whereas psychologists are trained more broadly to provide clinical assessments, conduct research and teach.
When considering which professional to see first, it’s important to note what you’re seeking out of treatment. Many clinical psychologists and counselors use talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people become more aware of negative thinking patterns. This can lead individuals to recognize their own unique strengths, find meaning in life experiences, or gain control over the symptoms they are experiencing.
If your goal is to explore unresolved feelings from childhood trauma or past relationships, speaking with a therapist who offers insight into these topics may be your best choice. If you require a diagnosis and need help managing symptoms of an illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia then seeing a psychologist would be better.
Therapists and psychologists have a lot in common but there are also some key differences that may influence your decision.
What Is a Psychologist?
Psychologists are researchers in the field of human behavior and emotion. They study people from a variety of angles to help better understand what motivates them and how they can be helped through difficult times.
Psychology is an interesting type of science that studies humans at every level, including their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions as well as outside factors such as genetics or environment which influence who we become.
Psychologists look for patterns among individuals based on these various contexts both past experiences but also future goals so they can best approach those particular problems with helpful advice rather than just generalizations about humanity.
- Clinical Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Human Factors Psychology
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
What Is a Therapist?
Therapists are experts in talking about emotions and relationships, helping clients explore their thoughts and feelings from many different angles so they can discover what works best for them. They may also teach you skills like mindfulness or positive coping strategies to help manage difficult situations outside of therapy sessions.
It can be helpful to think of it as a form of self-care that promotes wellness and mental health. A therapist provides non-judgmental support during your journey to becoming more content with yourself and healthier overall.
The important thing is that each person has an opportunity to talk openly without fear of judgment, which creates space for learning new ways of thinking and behaving while gaining insight into patterns of behavior and thinking that may affect your mental health.
- Mental Health and Wellness Counseling
- Career Counseling
- Counseling for Eating Disorders
- Substance Abuse Counseling
- Premarital Counseling
- Marriage and Family Counseling
- Discernment Counseling
- Infertility Counseling
- Prenatal, Pregnancy, & Postpartum Counseling
- Child Development Counseling
- School Counseling
Choosing the Right Type of Therapy for Your Needs
Therapy is a form of treatment that can be used to help people with mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship issues, or other life challenges. It’s important to find the right therapist for you because not all therapies will work for everyone. Deciding which type of therapy is best for you may involve talking with your current doctor or getting a referral from someone you trust such as family members who have had success in counseling before.
Learn About Therapy, Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, & More
The American Psychological Association goes into great detail regarding the differing education and training requirements between psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed therapists, and other mental health counselors. The following is a list of further resources to help you learn more:
Find the Right Therapist for You
When it comes to seeking help for mental health issues, there are many options. Therapists and psychologists have different strengths so the choice will depend on what you need assistance with today. If you are wondering how to find the right professional for your needs, reach out today. Our team of experts will work with you to figure out what’s best for your mental health and help you get started on a path to whole-person mental health and wellness.