Psychologists are skilled in helping people with mental health disorders work their way through life’s difficulties, including common sources of distress such as relationship problems, career difficulties, emotional distress, and even general life dissatisfaction as well as anxiety and depression that can accompany these and other life challenges.
Psychologists hold a doctoral degree (requiring approximately 5-7 years of graduate coursework beyond a bachelor’s degree), years of training in psychotherapy, and an intensive clinical internship. Some psychologists also complete a post-doctoral fellowship (an additional 1-2 years of training) to obtain further specialized knowledge and skills. Psychologists do not prescribe medication. In contrast, psychiatrists are medical doctors who obtain specialized training in the assessment and treatment of mental illness. Their training emphasizes medical treatment, primarily in the form of prescription medication.
The education of a psychologist includes an in-depth and focused study of the human mind, behavior, motivation, and factors that facilitate change. Psychologists are licensed by their state’s department of education and are therefore subject to professional oversight by a professional licensing board. Having a psychologist’s license means that the provider has completed the requisite training and possesses the necessary qualifications to practice as a psychologist. As a licensed professional, psychologists are obligated to comply with an extensive code of ethics that outlines acceptable and unacceptable practices.
A psychologist is trained to treat both significant mental health problems as well as emotional distress and motivational difficulties. Even if you do not have significant mental health problems, a psychologist can help you understand yourself better and teach you how to manage your life more effectively. Psychologists can help you learn better coping strategies and problem solving approaches that may help you overcome obstacles and enhance you ability to achieve your best life.