What’s the difference between a psychologist, and a psychotherapist?

Unless you’re someone very familiar with the mental health industry, you’re bound to be confused with the overwhelmingly large number of “psycho” terms out there. We are going to put your confusion to rest about two of the more important psycho terms though – psychologist and psychotherapist.

So without any further ado, let’s jump in.

Who is a Psychologist?

Psychology is basically the study of the ways people think, behave, act and interact. Under psychology, the study of the mind also covers its everyday functioning as well as much more complex mental health conditions.

A psychologist is someone who has a PhD in psychology. However, this is actually a pretty simple definition, and there are kind of two types of psychologists – “applied” and “research-oriented.”

While they are both psychologists, their job tends to differ quite a bit. While the ones that are ‘applied’ usually work at helping patients through their practical knowledge of psychology, the ‘research-oriented’ ones try to present a more in-depth view of the human mind to the world.

Similarly, while a degree in psychology would help a person earn the title of a psychologist, anyone that wants to become a counseling psychologist need to have both a degree in psychology and a Doctorate in counseling psychology.

Counseling psychologists are actually a fairly new type of psychologists that are into both therapeutic practice and psychological research and theory.

Who is a Psychotherapist?

Psychotherapy is an umbrella term for all types of talking therapies as well as the methods associated with them. Due to the nature of the job and the wide range of issues it covers, psychotherapy and counseling are often used interchangeably.

Psychotherapists help patients effectively deal with a whole lot of concerns, ranging from common mental health issues to serious psychiatrist disorders. A psychotherapist may either have an educational background entirely based around psychotherapy or have got into the field from another related mental health area.

Psychotherapists have a variety of methods to understand the way you think and feel and change these processes into something more positive to help you deal with the mental health issues that you may be facing. Furthermore, they can also teach you mental skills that you may find incredibly useful at tackling everyday mental problems or other emotions that may be troubling you.

Difference between a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist

Based on what we discussed above, we can conclude the following.

  • While the psychologists are more concerned with the way your mind works and its everyday thought processes, psychotherapists typically use talking therapies to help patients deal with many different types of emotional issues
  • A psychologist is someone with a degree in psychology; a psychotherapist can be someone trained in psychotherapy or crossing over from a different but related mental health sector
  • A psychologist may be specialized in neuropsychology or CBT, among other areas; a psychotherapist can specialize in a few different types of therapies, such as the cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapists may work with other medical professionals, while psychologists usually work alone, especially the ones that treat clients