A psychologist is a healthcare provider who evaluates and treats mental health disorders and psychological conditions. Psychologists study how the mind and thought processes affect individual behaviors. Psychologists work in a variety of settings and specialty areas to help people overcome personal, social, and psychological challenges and improve their mental health and well-being.
The practice of psychology varies depending on the psychology specialty, setting and patient. Psychologists can specialize in 14 different areas, from child and adolescent psychology to the application of psychology in legal matters. Specialization allows psychologists to direct their knowledge toward a more defined area of psychology and become experts in their field. Psychologists can also pursue board certification in their specialty.
A psychologist may conduct research, teach, develop and evaluate programs, create public policy, consult, provide expert testimony, and counsel patients in a private practice.
In general, a psychologist:
Conducts research, teaches, and supervises other mental healthcare providers and psychologists
Performs psychological evaluations and assessments using specialized tests to diagnose psychological disorders, test intelligence, and determine personality type
Develops treatment plans for patients and re-evaluates and modifies these plans as needed
Provides counseling, psychotherapy, and crisis intervention
Collaborates, refers, and consults with other specialists including other healthcare providers, lawyers, and school personnel
Involuntary commits and treats patients in emergency situations
Provides school and career planning guidance
Other types of healthcare providers who offer similar care as psychologists include clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, mental health assistants, and marriage and family therapists.
A psychologist may also be known as a therapist or licensed psychologist.
There are 108723 specialists practicing Clinical Psychology in the United States with an overall average rating of 4.0 stars. There are 976 hospitals in the United States with affiliated Clinical Psychology specialists, including Boston Children's Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital.