Both psychologist and therapist are terms used to describe mental health professionals. But while they both provide therapy, a psychologist’s education and training is primarily focused on psychology, while a therapist’s education is primarily focused on social work or counseling.

There are also differences in how they practice. A psychologist treats mental illness through psychotherapy, while a therapist teaches coping skills and healthy behaviors to people who are struggling emotionally. There’s more, so it’s important to understand the key distinctions between the two so that you can seek out the appropriate care when you need it more. So, what’s the difference between these two professions? Here’s what you need to know:

Psychologist Vs. Therapist


While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it’s important to understand that their education, training, and focuses are unique. What’s the key difference between a psychologist vs therapist? A psychologist often treats individuals for mental health issues. Therapists can help with emotional, relational, or interpersonal issues, but they are not trained in treating specific mental health conditions. In some cases, a psychologist can also be a therapist, but a therapist is not necessarily a psychologist unless they have the training.

Psychologist Education

A psychologist’s main education is in psychology. In other words, a psychologist is primarily trained in the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Psychologists have a Ph.D. or PsyD degree, which means they have completed at least 5 years of graduate studies or more at an accredited university to earn their doctorate degree.

Psychology is classified as a science and not a profession because it does not involve any licensing requirements. However, psychologists are required by law to be licensed and/or certified if they wish to practice medicine. There are three types of licenses: medical license; mental health care provider license; clinical social worker license. The primary purpose behind these state regulations is consumer protection—to ensure that consumers receive quality care from qualified professionals who have met certain education standards before offering treatment services for mental health conditions.

Therapist Education


A therapist’s main education is in social work, counseling, or marriage and family therapy. Therapists are trained to work with people and their families in a variety of settings. They can help people deal with a wide range of issues, from depression and anxiety to substance abuse and eating disorders. But therapists aren’t necessarily trained in psychology—many are social workers, counselors, or marriage and family therapists. They can help people learn effective coping skills, change behaviors, and learn new ways to connect with each other, but they cannot prescribe medications or make medical diagnoses.

Psychologists Are Trained In Psychotherapy

Psychologists are trained in psychotherapy, which is the practice of helping people with mental health issues. Most psychologists have a Ph.D. or PsyD degree and are licensed to practice independently. Some psychologists are also faculty at colleges and universities, where their job may be to teach students about psychology concepts rather than treat patients directly or conduct research on mental health topics.

A Therapist Can Teach You Coping Skills And Healthy Behaviors

Therapists can teach you coping skills, such as how to deal with stress or manage a panic attack. They can also help you learn healthier behaviors, like eating better and exercising more often and setting healthy boundaries. Many therapists are trained to use specialized programs like CBT that can aid the individual in creating better habits to manage their lifestyle, depression, anxiety, and more.

They Both Get Their Patients Talking


Both psychologists and therapists are “talk therapists.” They ask questions, but they do not give advice or tell their clients what to do. Therapists are trained to be nonjudgmental, which means they will not tell their client that she is crazy or wrong for feeling the way that she does. Instead, they help clients explore their feelings and thoughts so they can understand them better.

They may also help the client find solutions for her problems by brainstorming or looking at past experiences that have led up to this point in time. Both therapists and psychologists use a variety of strategies in order to provide therapy services such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), mindfulness-based approaches (MBSR), or hypnosis techniques like the Ericksonian hypnosis technique (EH).

Psychologists Treat Mental Illness, But They Also Do Research

Psychologists are trained in research methods, so they’re often involved in research projects and studies. This can include conducting research on mental illness, which helps to further our understanding of the condition and how it can be treated. Psychologists may study how different types of therapy work for different kinds of patients, or they may look at the effects that medication has on a patient’s mental health.

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