Psychologist vs. Therapist: How to Choose & More – Healthline

When looking for therapy, you may come across different mental health professionals like psychologists and therapists.

Both psychologists and therapists have undergone education and training in therapeutic techniques to some extent in order to help clients resolve mental health issues.

These titles are often used interchangeably. Psychologists and therapists have different education, training, and approaches in their practices, although both types of specialists show good outcomes in helping people.

Learn the key similarities and differences to help you make the right decision for your mental health needs.

There is uncertainty about these terms, even among people who practice in this fields.

Some psychologists with doctorate-level education will take on the title of therapist or psychotherapist. Some specialists without graduate training beyond master’s degrees or certifications may refer to themselves as “counselors.”

Referring to specialists without doctorate-level training as counselors rather than therapists is a general practice in the mental health field.

In this article, we’ll use “counselor” in some places to refer to therapists who don’t have the advanced training that psychologists and doctorate-level specialists have.

The deep dive

Many psychologists are treatment-focused, but many are also informed byacademic literature and psychological research. The’’re a lot like medical doctors who look to medical research to guide treatment. However, psychologists do not prescribe medications.

In particular, psychologists’ education and training is informed by behavioral science research, which provides insights into how people with mental health conditions respond to stress and other external factors. Behavioral science also encompasses clinical
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