If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between types of therapists, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick primer:
Psychologists – Psychologists have doctorates, specifically either a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology). Both degrees require 4-7 years of training, clinical training placements, and a year-long, full-time internship. Traditionally, Ph.D. programs train psychologists in both clinical practice and research, requiring a research dissertation to graduate. PsyDs were developed to train psychologists to practice in clinical settings and do not generally require research to graduate. Psychologists not only do psychotherapy, but also do psychological and psychoeducational testing.
Psychiatrists – Psychiatrists are medical doctors, who have attended medical school and completed a residency in psychiatry. They have MDs and are able to prescribe medications. Many psychiatrists only do medication management, although some also do psychotherapy.
Clinical Social Workers – Clinical social workers have earned a 2-year Masters of Social Work (MSW) and are licensed as Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). People with LCSWs have specialized training in therapy.