Last updated

EEG early studies edited.jpg
Competencies Psychotherapy, psychological assessment and testing, depends on specialty
Education required
differs by location and specialty, Bachelor's degree with honors in Psychology, Master's degree in Psychology, PsyD or PhD
Fields of
clinical neuropsychology, clinical, Medical, community, counselling, educational and developmental, forensic, health, organisational or sport and exercise
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A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments. [1] Psychologists usually acquire a four-year university degree, often with post-graduate work required. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists usually cannot prescribe medication. Psychologists can work with a range of institutions and people, such as schools, prisons, in a private clinic, in a workplace, or with a sports team. [2]


Applied psychology in the United States

Applied psychology applies theory to solve problems in human and animal behavior. Clinical psychology is a field of applied psychology that focus on therapeutic methods. Other applied fields include counseling psychology and school psychology. [3] Licensing and regulations can vary by state and profession. [4]

Clinical psychology

Education and training

In the United States and Canada, full membership in each country's professional association—American Psychological Association (APA) and Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), respectively—requires doctoral training (except in some Canadian provinces, such as Alberta, where a master's degree is sufficient). [lower-alpha 1] The minimal requirement for full membership can be waived in circumstances where there is evidence that significant contribution or performance in the field of psychology has been made. Associate membership requires at least two years of postgraduate studies in psychology or an approved related discipline. [5]

The University of Pennsylvania was the first institution to offer formal education in clinical psychology in the U.S. Penn campus 2.jpg
The University of Pennsylvania was the first institution to offer formal education in clinical psychology in the U.S.

Some U.S. schools offer accredited programs in clinical psychology resulting in a master's degree. Such programs can range from forty-eight to eighty-four units, most often taking two to three years to complete after the undergraduate degree. Training usually emphasizes theory and treatment over research, quite often with a focus on school, or couples and family counseling. Similar to doctoral programs, master's level students usually must fulfill time in a clinical practicum under supervision; some programs also require a minimum amount of personal psychotherapy. [6] While many graduates from master's level training go on to doctoral psychology programs, a large number also go directly into practice—often as a licensed professional counselor (LPC), marriage and family therapist (MFT), or other similar licensed practice. [7]

There is stiff competition to gain acceptance into clinical psychology doctoral programs (acceptance rates of 2–5% are not uncommon). Clinical psychologists in the U.S. undergo many years of graduate training—usually five to seven years after the bachelor's degree—to gain demonstrable competence and experience. Licensure as a psychologist takes an additional one to two years post Ph.D./Psy.D. (licensure requires 3,000 hours of supervised training), depending on the state. Today in America, about half of all clinical psychology graduate students are being trained in Ph.D. programs that emphasize research and are conducted by universities—with the other half in Psy.D. programs, which have more focus on practice (similar to professional degrees for medicine and law). [8] Both types of doctoral programs (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) envision practicing clinical psychology in a research-based, scientifically valid manner, and most are accredited by the American Psychological Association. [9]

APA accreditation [10] is very important for U.S. clinical, counseling, and school psychology programs because graduating from a non-accredited doctoral program may adversely affect employment prospects and present a hurdle for becoming licensed in some jurisdictions. [11] [12] [13] [14]

Doctorate (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) programs usually involve some variation on the following 5 to 7 year, 90–120 unit curriculum:

  • Bases of behavior—biological, cognitive-affective and cultural-social
  • Individual differences—personality, lifespan development, psychopathology
  • History and systems—development of psychological theories, practices and scientific knowledge
  • Clinical practice—diagnostics, psychological assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions, psychopharmacology, ethical and legal issues
  • Coursework in statistics and research design
  • Clinical experience
    • Practicum—usually three or four years of working with clients under supervision in a clinical setting. Most practicum placements begin in either the first or second year of doctoral training.
    • Doctoral internship—usually an intensive one or two-year placement in a clinical setting
  • Dissertation—Ph.D. programs usually require original quantitative empirical research, while Psy.D. dissertations involve original quantitative or qualitative research, theoretical scholarship, program evaluation or development, critical literature analysis or clinical application and analysis. The dissertation typically takes 2–3 years to complete.
  • Specialized electives—many programs offer sets of elective courses for specializations, such as health, child, family, community or neuropsychology.
  • Personal psychotherapy—many programs require students to undertake a certain number of hours of personal psychotherapy (with a non-faculty therapist) although in recent years this requirement has become less frequent.
  • Comprehensive exams or master's thesis: a thesis can involve original data collection and is distinct from a dissertation.

Psychologists can be seen as practicing within two general categories of psychology: applied psychology which includes "practitioners" or "professionals", and research-orientated psychology which includes "scientists", or "scholars". The training models endorsed by the American Psychological Association (APA) require that applied psychologists be trained as both researchers and practitioners, [15] and that they possess advanced degrees.

Psychologists typically have one of two degrees: PsyD or PhD. The PsyD program prepares the student only for clinical practice (e.g., testing, psychotherapy). Depending on the specialty (industrial/organizational, social, clinical, school, etc.), a PhD may be trained in clinical practice as well as in scientific methodology, to prepare for a career in academia or research. Both the PsyD and PhD programs prepare students to take state licensing exams.

Within the two main categories are many further types of psychologists as reflected by the 56 professional classifications recognized by the APA, [16] including clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. Such professionals work with persons in a variety of therapeutic contexts. People often think of the discipline as involving only such clinical or counseling psychologists. While counseling and psychotherapy are common activities for psychologists, these applied fields are just two branches in the larger domain of psychology. [17] There are other classifications such as industrial, organizational and community psychologists, whose professionals mainly apply psychological research, theories, and techniques to "real-world" problems of business, industry, social benefit organizations, government, [18] [19] [20] and academia.


Clinical psychologists receive training in a number of psychological therapies, including behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, existential, psychodynamic, and systemic approaches, as well as in-depth training in psychological testing, and to some extent, neuropsychological testing. [21]


Clinical psychologists can offer a range of professional services, including: [22]

  • Psychological treatment (therapy)
  • Administering and interpreting psychological assessment and testing
  • Conducting psychological research
  • Teaching
  • Developing prevention programs
  • Consulting
  • Program administration
  • Expert testimony

In practice, clinical psychologists might work with individuals, couples, families, or groups in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health organizations, schools, businesses, and non-profit agencies.

Most clinical who engage in research and teaching do so within a college or university setting. Clinical psychologists may also choose to specialize in a particular field.

Prescription privileges

Psychologists in the United States campaigned for legislative changes to enable specially trained psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications. Legislation in Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Illinois has granted those who complete an additional master's degree program in psychopharmacology permission to prescribe medications for mental and emotional disorders. [23] As of 2019, Louisiana is the only state where the licensing and regulation of the practice of psychology by medical psychologists (MPs) is regulated by a medical board (the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners) rather than a board of psychologists. [24] While other states have pursued prescriptive privileges, they have not succeeded. Similar legislation in the states of Hawaii and Oregon passed through their respective legislative bodies, but in each case the legislation was vetoed by the state's governor. [23]

In 1989, the U.S Department of Defense was directed to create the Psychopharmacology Demonstration Project (PDP). By 1997, ten psychologists were trained in psychopharmacology and granted the ability to prescribe psychiatric medications. [25]


The practice of clinical psychology requires a license in the United States and Canada. Although each of the U.S. states is different in terms of requirements and licenses (see [26] and [27] for examples), there are three common requirements: [28]

  1. Graduation from an accredited school with the appropriate degree
  2. Completion of supervised clinical experience
  3. Passing a written and/or oral examination

All U.S. state, and Canada provincial, licensing boards are members of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) which created and maintains the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Many states require other examinations in addition to the EPPP, such as a jurisprudence (i.e. mental health law) examination or an oral examination. [28] Most states also require a certain number of continuing education credits per year in order to renew a license. Licensees can obtain this through various means, such as taking audited classes and attending approved workshops.

There are professions whose scope of practice overlaps with the practice of psychology (particularly with respect to providing psychotherapy) and for which a license is required.

Ambiguity of title

To practice with the title of "psychologist", in almost all cases a doctorate degree is required (a PhD or PsyD in the U.S.). Normally, after the degree, the practitioner must fulfill a certain number of supervised postdoctoral hours ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 (usually taking one to two years), and passing the EPPP and any other state or provincial exams. [29] A professional in the U.S. must hold a graduate degree in psychology (MA, Psy.D., Ed.D., or Ph.D.), or have a state license to use the title psychologist. [30] [31] Additional regulations vary from state to state.

Differences with psychiatrists

Although clinical psychologists and psychiatrists share the same fundamental aim—the alleviation of mental distress—their training, outlook, and methodologies are often different. Perhaps the most significant difference is that psychiatrists are licensed physicians, and, as such, psychiatrists are apt to use the medical model to assess mental health problems and to also employ psychotropic medications as a method of addressing mental health problems. [32]

Psychologists generally do not prescribe medication, although in some jurisdictions they do have prescription privileges. In five US states (New Mexico, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Idaho), psychologists with post-doctoral clinical psychopharmacology training have been granted prescriptive authority for mental health disorders. [33] [34]

Clinical psychologists receive extensive training in psychological test administration, scoring, interpretation, and reporting, while psychiatrists are not trained in psychological testing. In addition, psychologists (particularly those from Ph.D. programs) spend several years in graduate school being trained to conduct behavioral research; their training includes research design and advanced statistical analysis. While this training is available for physicians via dual MD/Ph.D. programs, it is not typically included in standard medical education, although psychiatrists may develop research skills during their residency or a psychiatry fellowship (post-residency). Psychologists from Psy.D. programs tend to have more training and experience in clinical practice (e.g. psychotherapy, testing) than those from Ph.D. programs.

Psychiatrists, as licensed physicians, have been trained more intensively in other areas, such as internal medicine and neurology, and may bring this knowledge to bear in identifying and treating medical or neurological conditions that present with primarily psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or paranoia, e.g., hypothyroidism presenting with depressive symptoms, or pulmonary embolism with significant apprehension and anxiety. [35]

Mental health professions

Comparison of mental health professionals in USA
OccupationDegreeCommon licensesPrescription privilegeAve. 2015
income (USD)
Clinical Psychologist PhD/PsyDPsychologistVaries by state$87,450
Counseling Psychologist (Doctorate)PhD/PsyDPsychologistNo$65,000
Counseling Psychologist (Master's)MA/MS/MCMFT/LPC/LPANo$49,000
School Psychologist PhD, EdDPsychologistNo$78,000
Psychiatrist MD/DOPsychiatristYes$220,000
Clinical Social Worker PhD/MSWLCSWNo$50,470
Psychiatric Nurse PhD/MSN/BSNAPRN/PMHNNo$73,300
Psychiatric and mental health Nurse Practitioner DNP/MSNMHNPYes (Varies by state)$115,800
Expressive/Art Therapist MAATRNo$55,900
Sources: [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

Licensed behavior analysts are licensed in five states to provide services for clients with substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and mental illness. This profession draws on the evidence base of applied behavior analysis and the philosophy of behaviorism. Behavior analysts have at least a master's degree in behavior analysis or in a mental health related discipline, as well as having taken at least five core courses in applied behavior analysis. Many behavior analysts have a doctorate. Most programs have a formalized internship program, and several programs are offered online. Most practitioners have passed the examination offered by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.Behavior Analyst Certification Board The model licensing act for behavior analysts can be found at the Association for Behavior Analysis International's website.


In the United States, of 170,200 jobs for psychologists, 152,000 are employed in clinical, counseling, and school positions; 2,300 are employed in industrial-organizational positions, and 15,900 are in "all other" positions.

The median salary in the U.S., in 2012, for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was US$69,280 and the median salary for organizational psychologists was US$83,580. [1] [46]

Psychologists can work in applied or academic settings. Academic psychologists educate higher education students as well as conduct research, with graduate-level research being an important part of academic psychology. Academic positions can be tenured or non-tenured, with tenured positions being highly desirable. [47]


To become a psychologist, a person often completes a degree in psychology, but in other jurisdictions the course of study may be different and the activities performed may be similar to those of other professionals. [48]


In Australia, the psychology profession, and the use of the title "psychologist", is regulated by an Act of Parliament, the Health Practitioner Regulation (Administrative Arrangements) National Law Act 2008, following an agreement between state and territorial governments. Under this national law, registration of psychologists is administered by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). [49] Before July 2010, the professional registration of psychologists was governed by various state and territorial Psychology Registration Boards. [50] The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) oversees education standards for the profession.

The minimum requirements for general registration in psychology, including the right to use the title "psychologist", are an APAC approved four-year degree in psychology followed by either a two-year master's program or two years of practice supervised by a registered psychologist. [51] [52] However, AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) is currently in the process of phasing out the 4 + 2 internship pathway. [53] Once the 4 + 2 pathway is phased out, a master's degree or PhD will be required to become a psychologist in Australia. This is because of concerns about public safety, and to reduce the burden of training on employers. [54] There is also a '5 + 1' registration pathway, including a four-year APAC approved degree followed by one year of postgraduate study and one year of supervised practice. [55] [56] Endorsement within a specific area of practice (e.g. clinical neuropsychology, clinical, community, counselling, educational and developmental, forensic, health, organisational or sport and exercise) requires additional qualifications. [57] These notations are not "specialist" titles (Western Australian psychologists could use "specialist" in their titles during a three-year transitional period from 17 October 2010 to 17 October 2013). [58] [59] [60]

Membership with Australian Psychological Society (APS) differs from registration as a psychologist. The standard route to full membership (MAPS) of the APS usually requires four years of APAC-accredited undergraduate study, plus a master's or doctorate in psychology from an accredited institution. An alternate route is available for academics and practitioners who have gained appropriate experience and made a substantial contribution to the field of psychology.

Restrictions apply to all individuals using the title "psychologist" in all states and territories of Australia. However, the terms "psychotherapist", "social worker", and "counselor" are currently self-regulated, with several organizations campaigning for government regulation. [61]


Since 1933, the title "psychologist" has been protected by law in Belgium. It can only be used by people who are on the National Government Commission list. The minimum requirement is the completion of five years of university training in psychology (master's degree or equivalent). The title of "psychotherapist" is not legally protected. As of 2016, Belgian law recognizes the clinical psychologist as an autonomous health profession. It reserves the practice of psychotherapy to medical doctors, clinical psychologists and clinical orthopedagogists. [62]


A professional in the U.S. or Canada must hold a graduate degree in psychology (MA, Psy.D., Ed.D., or Ph.D.), or have a provincial license to use the title psychologist. [30]


In Finland, the title "psychologist" is protected by law. The restriction for psychologists (licensed professionals) is governed by National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Finland) (Valvira). [63] It takes 330 ECTS-credits (about six years) to complete the university studies (master's degree). There are about 6,200 licensed psychologists in Finland. [64]


In Germany, the use of the title Diplom-Psychologe (Dipl.-Psych.) is restricted by law, and a practitioner is legally required to hold the corresponding academic title, which is comparable to a M.Sc. degree and requires at least five years of training at a university. Originally, a diploma degree in psychology awarded in Germany included the subject of clinical psychology. With the Bologna-reform, this degree was replaced by a master's degree. The academic degree of Diplom-Psychologe or M.Sc. (Psychologie) does not include a psychotherapeutic qualification, which requires three to five years of additional training. The psychotherapeutic training combines in-depth theoretical knowledge with supervised patient care and self-reflection units. After having completed the training requirements, psychologists take a state-run exam, which, upon successful completion (Approbation), confers the official title of "psychological psychotherapist" (Psychologischer Psychotherapeut). [65] After many years of inter-professional political controversy, non-physician psychotherapy was given an adequate legal foundation through the creation of two new academic healthcare professions. [66]


Since 1979, the title "psychologist" has been protected by law in Greece. It can only be used by people who hold a relevant license or certificate, which is issued by the Greek authorities, to practice as a psychologist. The minimum requirement is the completion of university training in psychology at a Greek university, or at a university recognized by the Greek authorities. [67] Psychologists in Greece are legally required to abide by the Code of Conduct of Psychologists (2019). [68] Psychologists in Greece are not required to register with any psychology body in the country in order to legally practice the profession.


In India, "clinical psychologist" is specifically defined in the Mental Health Act, 2017. [69] An MPhil in Clinical Psychology degree of two years duration recognized by the Rehabilitation Council of India is required to apply for registration as a clinical psychologist. This procedure has been criticized by some stakeholders since clinical psychology is not limited to the area of rehabilitation. [70] [71] [72] Titles such as "counselor" or "psychotherapist" are not protected at present. In other words, an individual may call themselves a "psychotherapist" or "counselor" without having earned a graduate degree in clinical psychology or another mental health field, and without having to register with the Rehabilitation Council of India. [73]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the use of the title "psychologist" is restricted by law. Prior to 2004, only the title "registered psychologist" was restricted to people qualified and registered as such. However, with the proclamation of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, in 2003, the use of the title "psychologist" was limited to practitioners registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. The titles "clinical psychologist", "counseling psychologist", "educational psychologist", "intern psychologist", and "trainee psychologist" are similarly protected. [74] This is to protect the public by providing assurance that the title-holder is registered and therefore qualified and competent to practice, and can be held accountable. The legislation does not include an exemption clause for any class of practitioner (e.g., academics, or government employees).


In Norway, the title "psychologist" is restricted by law and can only be obtained by completing a 6 year integrated program, leading to the Candidate of Psychology degree. Psychologists are considered health personnel, and their work is regulated through the "health personnel act". [75]

South Africa

South African psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.jpg
South African psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

In South Africa, [76] psychologists are qualified in either clinical, counseling, educational, organizational, or research psychology. To become qualified, one must complete a recognized master's degree in Psychology, an appropriate practicum at a recognized training institution, [77] and take an examination set by the Professional Board for Psychology. [78] Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) [79] is required and includes a Continuing Professional Development component. The practicum usually involves a full year internship, and in some specializations, the HPCSA requires completion of an additional year of community service. The master's program consists of a seminar, coursework-based theoretical and practical training, a dissertation of limited scope, and is (in most cases) two years in duration. Prior to enrolling in the master's program, the student studies psychology for three years as an undergraduate (B.A. or B.Sc., and, for organizational psychology, also B.Com.), followed by an additional postgraduate honours degree in psychology; see List of universities in South Africa. Qualification thus requires at least five years of study and at least one internship. The undergraduate B.Psyc. is a four-year program integrating theory and practical training, and—with the required examination set by the Professional Board for Psychology—is sufficient for practice as a psychometrist or counselor. [80]

United Kingdom

In the UK, "registered psychologist" and "practitioner psychologist" are protected titles. [81] The title of "neuropsychologist" is not protected. [81] In addition, the following specialist titles are also protected by law: "clinical psychologist", "counselling psychologist", "educational psychologist", "forensic psychologist", "health psychologist", "occupational psychologist" and "sport and exercise psychologist". [82] The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK. In the UK, the use of the title "chartered psychologist" is also protected by statutory regulation, but that title simply means that the psychologist is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society, but is not necessarily registered with the HCPC. However, it is illegal for someone who is not in the appropriate section of the HCPC register to provide psychological services. [83] The requirement to register as a clinical, counselling, or educational psychologist is a professional doctorate (and in the case of the latter two the British Psychological Society's Professional Qualification, which meets the standards of a professional doctorate). [84] The title of "psychologist", by itself, is not protected. [81] The British Psychological Society is working with the HCPC to ensure that the title of "neuropsychologist" is regulated as a specialist title for practitioner psychologists. [85]


As of December 2012, in the United Kingdom, there are 19,000 practitioner psychologists registered [86] across seven categories: clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist, educational psychologist, forensic psychologist, health psychologist, occupational psychologist, sport and exercise psychologist. At least 9,500 of these are clinical psychologists, [87] which is the largest group of psychologists in clinical settings such as the NHS. Around 2,000 are educational psychologists. [88]

See also


  1. APA membership is not a requirement for licensure in any of the 50 US states. This fact should not be confused with APA accreditation of graduate psychology programs and clinical internships.

Related Research Articles

Medical psychology, or Medicopsychology, is the application of psychological principles to the practice of medicine, primarily drug-oriented, for both physical and mental disorders.

Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person change behavior and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual's well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. There are also numerous types of psychotherapy designed for children and adolescents, such as play therapy. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders. Others have been criticized as pseudoscience.

Doctor of Psychology Doctoral degree

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) is a professional doctoral degree intended to prepare graduates for careers that apply scientific knowledge of psychology and deliver empirically based service to individuals, groups and organizations. Earning the degree was originally completed through one of two established training models for clinical psychology. However, Psy.D. programs are no longer limited to Clinical Psychology as several universities and professional schools have begun to award professional doctorates in Business Psychology, Organizational Development, Forensic Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology.

Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.

Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes among counseling psychologists include a focus on assets and strengths, person–environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and a focus on intact personalities.

The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) was founded in 1969 by the California Psychological Association. It is part of the for-profit Alliant International University where each campus's Clinical Psychology Psy.D. and Ph.D. program is individually accredited by the American Psychological Association. The school has trained approximately half of the licensed psychologists in California.

The scientist–practitioner model, also called the Boulder Model, is a training model for graduate programs that provide applied psychologists with a foundation in research and scientific practice. It was initially developed to guide clinical psychology graduate programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Licensed professional counselor (LPC) is a licensure for mental health professionals in some countries.

The Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) is a graduate school of psychology and an integral part of Divine Mercy University (DMU) in Arlington, Virginia. The institute was founded in 1999 with the mission of basing the scientific study of psychology on a Catholic understanding of the person, marriage, and the family, as well as being an international center for scholarship and professional training. It seeks to educate new generations of psychologists and mental health professionals, as well as open new areas of research for psychological theories that explore the relationship between psychology and the Catholic-Christian understanding of the human person.

A mental health professional is a health care practitioner or social and human services provider who offers services for the purpose of improving an individual's mental health or to treat mental disorders. This broad category was developed as a name for community personnel who worked in the new community mental health agencies begun in the 1970s to assist individuals moving from state hospitals, to prevent admissions, and to provide support in homes, jobs, education, and community. These individuals were the forefront brigade to develop the community programs, which today may be referred to by names such as supported housing, psychiatric rehabilitation, supported or transitional employment, sheltered workshops, supported education, daily living skills, affirmative industries, dual diagnosis treatment, individual and family psychoeducation, adult day care, foster care, family services and mental health counseling.

A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics distinguishes "Mental Health Counselors" from "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists".

Palo Alto University (PAU) is a private university in Palo Alto, California that focuses on psychology. It was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

The prescriptive authority for psychologists (RxP) movement is a movement among certain psychologists to give prescriptive authority to psychologists with predoctoral or postdoctoral graduate training in clinical psychopharmacology; successful passage of a standardized, national examination ; supervised clinical experience; a certificate from the Department of Defense Psychopharmacology Demonstration Project; or a diploma from the Prescribing Psychologists Register to enable them, according to state law, to prescribe psychotropic medications to treat mental and emotional disorders. This approach is non-traditional medical training focused on the specialized training to prescribe for mental health disorders by a psychologist. It includes rigorous didactics and supervised practica. Legislation pertaining to prescriptive authority for psychologists has been introduced over 180 times in over half of the United States. It has passed in five states, due largely to substantial lobbying efforts by the American Psychological Association. Prior to RxP legislation and in states where it has not been passed, this role is played by psychiatrists, who possess a medical degree and thus the authority to prescribe medication, and by primary care providers who can prescribe psychotropics, but lack extensive training in psychotropic drugs and in diagnosing and treating psychological disorders. According to the American Psychological Association, the largest professional organization of psychologists in the United States with over 122,000 members, the movement is a reaction to the growing public need for mental health services, particularly in under-resourced areas where patients have little or no access to psychiatrists.

Adler University is a private, not-for-profit university, with two campuses in North America. Adler University's flagship campus is in Chicago, Illinois, and its satellite campus is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The University also offers online classes and degree programs online for both master's and doctoral students.

In Scotland, a Clinical Associate is a shortened designation for a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP). A Clinical Associate is a specialist regulated mental health professional whose duties include assessing, formulating, and treating clients all within specified ranges of conditions and age. Clinical Associates work either in primary care adult mental health settings or in a range of setting working with children, young people, and their families.

William James College, formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP), is a private college of psychology in Newton, Massachusetts. With more than 750 students, William James College offers graduate academic degree and certificate programs across four departments: Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Organizational and Leadership Psychology, and School Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science completion program in Psychology and Human Services.

The degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy/DClinPsych/ClinPsyD) is a professional doctorate in clinical psychology, awarded mainly in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The degree has both clinical and research components, and qualifies the holder to practice as a clinical psychologist in Britain's National Health Service and other clinical settings. It bears some similarities to the Doctor of Psychology degree in the United States.

Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training, and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors operate from a wellness perspective, which emphasizes moving toward optimal human functioning in mind, body, and spirit, and away from distress, dysfunction, and mental illness. Counselors also view wellness and pathology as developmental in nature, and take into consideration all levels of a client's environment when conducting assessment and treatment. Counselors also frequently take a team approach, collaborating with other mental health professionals to provide the most comprehensive care possible for the client.

Divine Mercy University

Divine Mercy University (DMU) is a private Catholic graduate university of psychology and counseling located in Sterling, Virginia in the United States.


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