The Difference Between a Therapist And a Psychologist And Which One You Should See

Author Mariam Youssef
Time 4/15/23, 2:00 PM
The Difference Between a Therapist And a Psychologist And Which One You Should See

What differentiates a psychologist from a therapist? The same goal is being accomplished by both: enhancing people's lives. However, there are differences between the two words, and we're here to explain them to you so you can pick the psychology degree program that most closely matches your objectives. In addition to other differences, psychologists and therapists have different educational backgrounds and levels of competency in mental health diagnosis. Your decision may be influenced by the issues you want to address. You can better understand the differences between a therapist and a psychologist with the use of this checklist.

Let’s start with the similarities between them both:

1- Psychologists and therapists collaborate with you to enhance your emotional and mental well-being. 

2- The two types of mental health specialists should be able to diagnose your particular problems because they both have in-depth knowledge of mental processes and general concepts. 

3- Both will actively listen to you while also meeting with you on a regular basis to offer you personal advice and treatment programs to assist you to comprehend and get past your behavioral, emotional, and mental issues.

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4- In most places, neither a therapist nor a psychologist is allowed to provide patients with prescription drugs. Typically, the only individuals qualified to prescribe medications within the field of mental health are psychiatrists, mental health nurse practitioners, and medical doctors.

5- Finally, all mental health professionals, including therapists and psychologists, must complete many hours of training as an intern or associates before they can obtain their licenses.

6- These mental health experts must uphold your rights to confidentiality and privacy. Additionally, they are required by their profession to uphold moral standards and adhere to a code of ethics.

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The difference between both professions in definition:


An individual who has received training in and uses one or more types of therapy to treat mental or physical illnesses or diseases is referred to as a therapist, according to the American Psychological Association. The phrase is frequently used interchangeably with the word "psychotherapist" in relation to mental health.

Since the word "therapist" is used to apply to all occupations in the field of psychotherapy, all psychologists are considered to be therapists. But not every therapist is a psychologist.


According to the American Psychological Association, a psychologist is a social scientist who has received professional training in one or more branches or divisions of psychology. Since the word "therapist" is used to apply to all occupations in the field of psychotherapy, all psychologists are considered to be therapists. But not every therapist is a psychologist. 

Students studying psychology must finish the necessary undergraduate coursework, receive a master's degree in the subject, and then pursue a doctorate in philosophy (PhD.), psychology, or education. Psychologists can also use the title "Doctor" after completing an extra five or so years of undergraduate training and a dissertation.

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The difference between them in regards to what they do:


1- The term includes social workers, life coaches, marriage counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

2- A master's degree, PhD, MD, or certificate in a discipline like social work, substance addiction, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or family counseling, among other degrees in a range of academic specialties, are all acceptable.

3- Helping patients or clients to decide and express feelings.

4- Provide assistance and direction.


1- Possess a PhD in psychology.

2- May conduct research or therapy.

3- Diagnose their patients' or clients' diseases or issues.

4- Identify relevant therapies based on clinical observations and diagnosis.

5- Frequently collaborate with a psychiatrist.

6- Helping patients or clients to decide and express feelings.

7- Provide assistance and direction.

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What's the difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist?

A therapist is a trained counselor or psychologist who uses talk therapy to treat mental health issues and help you become better at handling stress and interpersonal interactions. A psychiatrist is a medical professional who has the ability to identify and treat mental health issues with medicines.

What's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

A psychologist is a healthcare professional with a master's or doctoral degree who treats patients using a variety of psychotherapy techniques. A psychiatrist is a healthcare professional who treats mental health issues using a variety of methods, including medication.

Which one should you see?

Depending on the issues you want to address, you may want to choose between a psychologist and a therapist. It should be noted that the titles "psychologist," "therapist," and "counselor" reflect the professional's level of education and training. However, each of these specialists is important to the field of mental health and has a unique approach to treating patients. Ask a potential therapist or psychologist about their credentials if you're thinking about working with them. You can enquire about their methodologies and areas of expertise.

An excellent place to start with either a therapist or psychologist is for:

  • General guidance
  • Grief, whether in marriage or divorce.
  • Treatment for mental health issues including anxiety and depression may be helped by both.
  • Psychologists and therapists.
  • Additionally, group therapy, which involves bigger groups of people working through similar problems, is a specialty of both psychologists and therapists.

Moreover, if you wish to make changes to your thought processes and actions, you might think about seeing a psychologist, but many counselors are equally capable of addressing these issues. You might think about hiring a clinical psychologist because of their greater level of training if a mental health illness is generating severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life.

A psychologist with a PhD can help you with:

Symptom management.

Dealing with undiagnosed mental health issues.

Adding suggestions based on academic work or research to long-term mental healthcare.

The choice between a psychologist and a therapist ultimately comes down to your needs and overall objectives. Both types of mental health professionals can assist you in setting and achieving your therapy objectives. Make sure you feel at ease with the professional you decide on so that you can lay the groundwork for successful long-term care.

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Mariam Youssef

Mariam Youssef

Growing up, I've always wanted to become so many things: a fashion designer, painter, singer, actress, and anything that revolves around art. It wasn't until I watched "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" t...

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