A psychologist is a practitioner of psychology, the scientific investigation of the mind, including behavior, cognition, and affect. The two major categories of psychologists are those who conduct scientific research and those who work in an applied psychology area. Applied psychologists are further subdivided into a number of mental health and other professions, the most well-recognized being clinical and counseling psychologists. Doctoral level trained psychologists are also experts in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests and assessment.
Contrast with psychiatrist
In most western countries, including the U.S., licensed/registered psychologists hold a doctorate in their field, while licensed psychiatrists hold a medical degree with a specialty in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are physicians who have earned an MBBS/Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) professional degree, whereas psychologists have earned a doctoral degree Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. Psychiatrists generally spend shorter periods of contact time with clients/patients, and the principal method of treatment is psychopharmacology.  Conversely, clinical and counseling psychologists generally rely upon psychological assessment and the use of psychotherapy to relieve psychological distress. It is not uncommon for people suffering from mental illness to combine these services to maximize their impact. Psychologists in the U.S. military and two states (New Mexico and Louisiana) have prescription privileges, combining psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions. Many psychologists conduct research-based, standardized cognitive and projective testing to guide the diagnosis of intellectual disabilities, behavioral/mood disorders, and personality disorders; these test results also inform treatment approaches. Administration and interpretation of the majority of these standardized test instruments require specialized Doctoral level training in psychology.
- ↑ eg. (2000) From the President: Psychosocial Competencies by Daniel Borenstein, M.D., American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric News, 33-34, October 8, 2000.
- ↑ APA: Careers in Psychology
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