What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a person who has been professionally trained to help people deal with an array of life transitions, stressors, and mental health issues. They provide a wide range of services that include psychological evaluations, tests, and psychotherapy. A psychologist must attend graduate school and receive extensive supervised training for a number of years prior to becoming a licensed professional in the mental health field. Psychologists are defined as, “An individual with a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school”, (APA, 2014).

Psychologists can help people overcome a wide variety of mental health related issues such as depression, anxiety, anger management, substance abuse and addictions, along with other mental health issues. Although psychologists can help people with a wide range of issues, over the course of their career they may end up specializing in certain mental health areas for example depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, or substance abuse and rehabilitation. Psychologists are trained to administer and interpret psychological assessments and can help diagnose a psychological condition. Psychological tests usually help to gather more information about a person, their personality, and the way they think, feel, and behave.

Psychologists help treat various mental health conditions by providing psychotherapy. They use a wide variety of different forms of therapy to help individuals who are in need of support. Common examples of the types of therapy include cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy or a combination of several different styles and techniques. The type of therapy used by a psychologist is usually dependent on what the research suggests to be most helpful for a particular problem. Empirically supported treatments are specified psychological treatments that have been found to be successful in treatment with a particular population, (APA Policy Statement, 2005). Psychologists utilize the best available research in order to know how to treat particular problems. Most practicing psychologist’s work with a group of other psychologists or other health care providers, as it is common for treatment plans to include referrals for other provides such as a psychiatrist or social worker. They can also work in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, community agencies, schools, hospitals, or manage their own private practice.