When you are looking for help with a mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety, you might think that the best option is to see a therapist. After all, they specialize in working with people who have mental health problems, right? Well… yes and no. A therapist and a clinical psychologist are both professionals who can help you deal with various issues in your life — but they are very different.
Both specialize in helping people cope with stress and overcome their problems by using different techniques and methods of treatment. However, the role of each professional is quite distinct from the other. While some may only need one of these professionals, others may need more help which is great because they all work together.
Table of Content
What is a Psychologist?
In general, psychologists are less likely to offer direct clinical services and more likely to work as researchers or educators. Psychologists are mental health professionals with a Doctoral Degree in Psychology, who provide therapy and psychological testing.
Psychologists can provide therapy in a wide variety of settings. Psychologists use several different types of therapy to help people with a wide range of issues, including depression, general anxiety disorders, relationship problems, eating disorders, family conflicts, and more.
A clinical psychologist may help you find ways to manage your anxiety so that you can better cope with your symptoms. Their training also enables them to administer and interpret standardized tests, such as IQ and personality tests. Clinical psychologists use these tests to get a better sense of a person’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as their interests and motivations.
What is a Therapist?
A therapist is a healthcare professional who helps individuals, couples, and families solve problems and improve their quality of life. This can include mental health issues, relationship issues, and anything else that is affecting your day-to-day life.
A therapist provides you with advice and exercises to help you overcome your problems. They may use talk therapy, in which two people discuss problems, feelings, and other issues, or other techniques to help you deal with issues in your life.
A therapist does not have to be licensed. It is sometimes used as a term for any kind of mental health professional. If you don’t know what kind of mental health professional you’re seeing, “therapist” is a pretty generic term.
With that being said, most therapists do have a Degree in Social Work in order to be direct with mental health patients. These professionals are called Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker?
Like psychologists, LCSWs are mental health professionals with a doctoral degree in social work (DSW). LCSWs also complete supervised clinical training and licensure. While psychologists can work in a wide variety of settings, LCSWs specialize in direct clinical care in hospitals and mental health clinics.
Working as a clinical social worker offers you the chance to help people with a wide range of issues, such as depression/anxiety, eating disorders, general family problems, parenting difficulties for teens and young children, the grieving process, and substance abuse issues.
Differences Between a Psychologist and LCSW
One of the biggest differences between a psychologist and a licensed clinical social worker is their training. While psychologists specialize in research and theory, LCSWs specialize in direct clinical care. This distinction is reflected in the career paths of psychologists and LCSWs.
Psychologists tend to work in higher education and research, while LCSWs work in direct clinical care, such as in hospitals and mental health clinics. You might work as a psychologist in a college setting, conducting research and teaching undergraduate psychology courses. On the other hand, you might work as a social worker in a hospital setting, interviewing patients and families, conducting assessments, and providing therapy.
Another key difference is the type of patients each profession usually works with. LCSWs usually work with people dealing with a wide range of issues in addition to mental health issues, such as family conflict or parenting issues. Psychologists usually work with patients who have serious mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, borderline personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, and childhood trauma.
The Differences Between a Generalized Therapist and a Psychologist
While they both help people with mental health issues, therapists and psychologists have different areas of expertise. Therapists are trained in specific problem areas, while clinical psychologists go through training that is more general.
Therapists have training in specific problem areas, like relationship issues or depression, but clinical psychologists have general training in mental health. A therapist’s training is more focused than a clinical psychologist’s training. For example, a therapist may have had training in how to help people in a certain issue area, like depression, but a clinical psychologist has training in how to help people with many different kinds of issues.
All clinical psychologists are required to be licensed, but therapists are not. Licensed means that they have met certain standards of education and experience and have passed a test to prove that they know what they’re doing. Clinical psychologists get specialized training in the assessment and diagnosis of mental health problems, and in how to develop treatment plans that are likely to help.
Therapists and psychologists both have important roles in helping people with mental health issues. They can both help you discover the source of your problems and find ways to solve them. However, therapists have more specialized training in specific problem areas, such as depression, while clinical psychologists have more general training in mental health.
The difference between a therapist and a psychologist is that psychologists have specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, while therapists have more general training in helping people overcome problems in their lives. This means that psychologists have more specialized training and can help people with a wide variety of mental health issues, while therapists have more general training and can help people with a smaller range of problems.