September 12, 2016 4:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind. It usually concerns itself with three broad areas: thoughts, emotions, and behavior. A Psychologist is a doctoral level mental health professional who has typically graduated from a doctoral program in psychology from an accredited university. The graduate level of study in psychology usually entails 3 years of full-time course work, one year of internship, and usually one year of researching and writing a doctoral dissertation. Clinical Psychology entails the study of development, personality formation, personality structure, psychopathology, family dynamics, and the qualities of many types of relationship. A clinical psychology program introduces the aspiring psychologist to a wide variety of theories and types of therapies. Each psychologist integrates and synthesizes her own or his own style according to what fits with their own identity.

A Psychoanalyst is a mental health professional who has graduated from an accredited training institute in Psychoanalysis. This results in a doctor’s degree in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis entails the study of the Unconscious, Transference, Resistance, the importance of early childhood experiences, and the meaning of dreams. Psychoanalysis is an intensive type of psychotherapy that aims at reaching the causes of a person’s problems and resolving unresolved conflicts. The course of study requires 3 years of coursework, a personal psychoanalysis of several years, several supervised “control” cases, and the writing of a publishable graduate paper. This is additional learning and training on top of prior training in, for example, psychology, psychiatry, or social work.

A Counselor in mental health is usually professional who has a Master’s Degree from a counseling program at a university. An example degree would be an MC, a Master’s in Counseling. An MFT, on the other hand, is a Master’s in Family Therapy.

A psychologist may legally refer to himself or herself as a psychotherapist. A psychotherapist utilizes scientific research, theory, and intuition to help a person with psychological problems/issues and with relationship problems/issues.

A Social Worker is usually someone who has a Master’s Degree in Social Work with some specialized training in therapy. An LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This professional usually goes through a two-year program of course work and field work, and to obtain the LCSW, goes through another two years of supervised clinical work.

Anyone may call themselves a “therapist.” This is not a legally protected term. A person may be a mental health therapist, a physical therapist, or even a food therapist. One is wise to check into the credentials, education, years of experience, and licensure/certification of a “therapist.”

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