Difference Between Therapist and Psychologist (With Table)

Mental Health is often an overlooked term throughout the world. Emotional trauma, unstable mentality, and psychological conditions, etc. are sometimes not identified as they are not physically visible, but it is essential to acknowledge the signs of it and get help. While there are several types of professionals for it, therapists and psychologists are two of the most common.

Therapist vs Psychologist

The difference between therapist and psychologist is that therapist refers to the professional who is trained in psychotherapy whereas a psychologist refers to the professional who holds a doctorate or an advanced degree in psychology. There are many types of therapists and psychologists based on the patients’ conditions.

A therapist is a trained professional in psychotherapy who helps people treat and rehabilitate through emotional difficulties as a result of traumatic experiences, addictions, etc. Therapy is a broad field of study, and there are several types of designated professionals such as counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists, etc.

A psychologist is a professional who practices human psychology by experimenting, observing, executing, and noticing how individual patients relate to one another and their surroundings. Psychologists are also a type of therapist. They have protected titles and accreditation is requisite for licensing from the country’s specified institution.

Comparison Table Between Therapist and Psychologist

Parameters of ComparisonTherapistPsychologist
SpecializationTrained in Psychotherapy.Trained in Psychology.
ApproachTherapists follow a CBT approach.Psychologists follow seven major approaches.
LicensingSome therapists are not regulated by any licensing board.Accreditation is a requisite for licensing.
TypesBehavioral, Addiction, Child, Cognitive, etc.Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Biological, etc.
PurposeHelp people with emotional difficulties.Diagnosing psychological illnesses.

What is a Therapist?

A Therapist is a professional expert who is highly trained in providing treatment and rehabilitation to people with emotional difficulties as a result of traumatic experiences, addictions, behavioral conditions, etc. Therapy is a broad field and includes a wide range of designated professionals including psychotherapists, psychologists, and counselors, etc.

A Therapist is directly not a defined occupational title, but there are types of therapists. The term therapist defines this range of professionals altogether. Since the occupations are divided into various categories, some of these professionals are regulated by licensing boards whereas some of them are not.

Being a broader field, several therapists are referred depending on the patient. For example, a professional counselor helps the patient to cope with emotional difficulties, a psychiatrist prescribes medication to patients with mental illnesses, and psychologists are experts in understanding how the mind works.

Most therapists follow a CBT approach for treating patients. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is based on the foundation that thoughts, emotions, and actions are interconnected with each other. The sole purpose of the CBT approach is to replace demotivational, self-harming, or self-defeating thoughts with more encouraging, lively, and motivational ideas. CBT is widely considered the gold standard of psychotherapy.

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a professional who practices human psychology by experimenting, observing, executing, and noticing how individual patients relate to one another and their surroundings. Psychologists are also a type of therapist. In the long term, psychologists help patients improve their decision-making, managing extensive stress and real-life behavioral traits based on understanding past experiences and illnesses to predicting future mental health.

To become a psychologist, an individual has to first complete a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in the specified field. For some psychological studies, a doctorate or a Ph.D. is also necessary. After completing the required studies, students are licensed and trained with real-time patients before they can pursue psychology as a professional career. Psychologists have protected titles and accreditation is requisite for licensing from the country’s specified institution.

There are namely 7 major perspectives in modern psychology that sum up the human mind. These perspectives include psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, biological, cross-cultural, evolutionary, and humanistic. The perspective of diagnosis depends on the patient’s symptoms. In most cases, the treatment is continued for a long time to understand the cause in depth. Furthermore, medications are also referred side-by-side.

Main Differences Between Therapist and Psychologist

  1. Therapists are part of a much broader field as compared to psychologists.
  2. Therapists are trained in psychotherapy whereas psychologists are trained in both psychotherapy and human psychology.
  3. Some types of therapists do not require licensing whereas all psychologists require an accredited license.
  4. Therapeutic treatments are both short-term and long-term whereas psychological treatments are mostly long-term.
  5. Some therapeutic treatments such as counseling usually do not require medications whereas psychological treatments require medications.

Conclusion

In the last few decades, the towards mental illness has been largely identified. People throughout the world are willing to pursue human psychology as a professional career. While mental health is not physically visible, some signs and symptoms indicate an imbalance in the mental health of an individual. These signs can be behavioral, psychodynamic, cognitive, etc. Even for trained professionals, identifying the root of illnesses can very often be a challenging task.

Psychologists are also a type of therapist. While therapy refers to a broader term for mental illnesses, psychologists focus on a specified domain. Most psychologists encounter patients who need a long time to recover from mental illnesses. Furthermore, psychologists are certified to refer to medicinal treatments as well.

Therapy, on the other hand, includes all the treatments for mental and social well-being. Whether it is a traumatic experience in the past, emotional disturbances, or psychological illnesses, etc., all the treatments are a part of therapy.

Mental Illness is not a matter to be taken lightly. A prolonged mental illness results in an altogether different mindset and lifestyle. It leads people to experience only negative thoughts, depression, unwillingness to accept the illness, and self-harming thoughts, etc.

Since the two terms are closely interrelated with each other, they can often sound confusing. As a matter of fact, psychology is indeed a part of therapy. However, when talking in medical terms, therapists and psychologists cannot always be used interchangeably.

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/493591
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-06424-000
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