Many people are interested in psychology, and in fact it is one of the most popular degrees that can be studied at university. But having a degree in psychology is not the same as being a Registered Practitioner Psychologist. A Registered Psychologist is a legally regulated professional who has a postgraduate qualification in the application of psychological science to a particular issue. There are currently seven types of Practitioner Psychologists:
- Clinical Psychologists
- Counselling Psychologists
- Educational Psychologists
- Forensic Psychologists
- Health Psychologists
- Occupational Psychologists
- Sports & Exercise Psychologists
Registered clinical psychologists have a degree in psychology plus an additional three to five years of postgraduate experience and university training in applying the science of psychology to clinical problems.
It therefore takes six to eight years to qualify as a Registered clinical psychologist, and the qualification that Registered clinical psychologists now obtain is a doctorate in clinical psychology.
What is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists often work in the same clinics and see people with similar problems, but there is a clear difference between them.
Clinical psychologists’ key role is to consider what the science of psychology tells them about how to help with the problem. And psychiatrists’ key role is to consider what the science of medicine tells them about how to help with the problem.
They are each able to do this because the first stage in training as a clinical psychologist is a degree in psychology, whereas the first stage in training as a psychiatrist is a degree in medicine.
So if you are depressed, for instance, a psychiatrist is best placed to help you think about whether a biological treatment like antidepressant drugs may help. And a clinical psychologist is best placed to help you think about whether a psychological therapy like cognitive behavioural therapy may help.
Clinical psychologists will usually be able to help you see a psychiatrist if that would be helpful for your problem, and psychiatrists will usually be able to help you see a clinical psychologist if they would be more able to help you with your problem.
What is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a counsellor or therapist?
Clinical psychologists have extensive training in assessing a range of psychological difficulties and determining the most appropriate form of help, as well as being trained in providing more than one type of therapy.
Therapists and counsellors, on the other hand, usually specialise in providing one particular type of therapy, like psychodynamic psychotherapy, or counselling, or cognitive behaviour therapy. If you know what form of therapy would be most likely to help your problem, you might go directly to see a therapist or a counsellor.
Therapists and counsellors are not yet legally regulated professions, which means that anyone can call themselves one, regardness of their training . However, many therapists and counsellors voluntarily register with one of the major professional bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy or the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.
Information taken from http://www.clinicalpsychology.org.uk/