What is a Psychologist?

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a doctoral-level health care provider specializing in assessing, diagnosing and treating behavioral, mental, and emotional problems.  Psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people adjust their thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and to cope better with difficult situations.

Licensed psychologists in Florida complete 4 years of college, then spend an average of seven (7) additional years in graduate education, training and research.  They must complete an approved supervised clinical internship and at least one year of post-doctoral supervised experience before they can practice independently.  

What is a Psychotherapist?

Not all psychotherapists are psychologists.  A psychotherapist may be licensed at a master’s level as a Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and Marriage and Family Therapist.  Some may hold a doctoral degree and go by “Dr. Jones”, but these professionals are not the same as psychologists.  Make sure you ask your provider what license he or she holds so that you can make an informed decision about your care.  

Psychotherapy is a scientifically validated procedure to help people develop more effective and healthier habits.  It is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between the psychologist and the individual.  Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective and nonjudgmental.  You and your doctor will work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.  To learn more about psychotherapy, visit the APA Help Center.

How do I know if I need help?

If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or as if you cannot handle things alone, you should seek the assistance of a licensed psychologist.  Whether the issue stems from a situation (the loss of a loved one, a job, or divorce), a chronic or ongoing challenge (physical or mental illness, family stress, bullying, substance use) or anything else, a licensed psychologist will work with you to offer you tools and support to handle life’s challenges.