A psychologist is a type of health care provider who specializes in psychology, the study and profession concerning behavior and the related functions and processes of both the mind and body, in human and non-human animals.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PSYCHOLOGIST AND A PSYCHIATRIST?
The longstanding practical difference between psychologists and psychiatrists has been that psychiatrists could prescribe medications whereas psychologists could not. However, times are rapidly changing and psychologists in some states have the ability to prescribe medications in certain situations, with appropriate training and supervision by a psychiatrist. The main intervention used by psychologists is psychotherapy (a psychological therapy done through talking). Although some psychiatrists use psychotherapy, most do not, or do so in a limited fashion. Another difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychologists focus more broadly on normal mental processes and behavior.
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WHAT DO PSYCHOLOGISTS DO?
Psychologists perform many different roles depending on their area of interest. The role that psychologists are most qualified to do compared to any other profession is testing of intelligence and personality. Another role is counseling and psychotherapy, which involves helping a person or group of persons with emotional problem by talking with them. Many psychologists conduct research and teach courses in colleges and universities. Psychologists testify in court and have countless other roles in many other areas. DO ALL PSYCHOLOGISTS TAKE THE SAME BASIC APPROACH?
No. Psychologists vary according to what they believe influence emotions, thinking, and personality development. Some believe the main influence is biological, others believe social factors (such as our relationships with others) are the main influence, and others believe the main influence involves conflicts in our mind that we are not aware of. Other psychologists have different theories than the ones mentioned above, from the very simple to the extraordinarily complex.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
One of the best sources for finding a good psychologist is a physician that you trust. Also, many medical schools and medical centers have mental health departments and can provide you with the names of psychologists with private practices. Social workers, psychiatrists, church officials, friends, and school guidance counselors may also be able to refer you to a psychologist in your area. WHAT IS A BOARD CERTIFIED PSYCHOLOGIST?
Any psychologist can apply to the American Board of Professional Psychology, to become board certified. The psychologist that is board certified has been agreed upon by a board (group) of peers (other psychologists) to meet the rigorous standards necessary to practice psychology, and has achieved the highest level of education possible in this field.
WHERE DOES THE WORD PSYCHOLOGIST COME FROM?
Psychologist comes from the Greek word "psyche" meaning "mind" and the Greek word "logos" meaning "the study of." Put the two words together and you have "the study of (the) mind."