Psychologist vs Psychotherapist: key differences

What are the Differences Between a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist?

  • To address mental health concerns, therapists and psychologists are trained in various therapeutic techniques. Seeing that these titles are commonly used interchangeably, you may wonder how they differ.

Both psychologists and therapists have different training, education, and approaches to their work. However, both types of specialists have shown positive results in helping people. This blog will help you understand the key differences between psychologists and therapists so you can make the right choice for your mental health needs.

Psychologists vs Psychotherapist Checklist


  • Possess advanced degrees in psychology
  • Can conduct research or provide therapy
  • Diagnose problems or disorders in their patients or clients
  • Based on clinical diagnoses and observations, determine the appropriate treatment
  • Work closely with a psychiatrist
  • Facilitate decision-making and clarify feelings for patients/clients
  • Assist and guide

Psychotherapists and Counsellors:

  • Social workers, marriage counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists can all act like therapists.
  • An individual may hold any number of degrees, including a master’s degree, Ph.D., MD, or certificate in fields such as social work, substance abuse, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or family counseling
  • Help patients/clients clarify their feelings and make decisions
  • Support and guide

Psychologists or Psychotherapists: What Are the Key Differences?

Who is a Psychologist?

A psychologist studies human behavior and mental processes as a social scientist. In this context, it means examining people’s emotional and cognitive functions, their interactions with the environment, and how they relate to one another.

Choose a Psychologist if you…

  • Have a mental health condition that requires surveys, long observations, and sessions to diagnose. This could include PTSD, schizophrenia, and more.
  • Need someone who can refer you to specialists who treat your health conditions. A psychologist will research your health condition and provide different treatment options.
  • Require an emotional support partner that can work with a psychiatrist on your treatment schedules.
  • Need help working through emotions and sensations so they can be properly and clinically diagnosed.

Who is a Psychotherapist?

Psychotherapists, on the other hand, are trained to provide various treatments and rehabilitation for people. They are often licensed professionals who perform specialized therapeutic practices to help alleviate the emotional and mental discomfort that is accompanied by traumatic events.

In other words, they are more suited to help with emotional and mental traumas, including breakups, loss of a loved one, personal development, existential crisis, and more.

Psychoanalysis, marriage counseling, social work, and life coaching are among the specialties of psychotherapists. They may deploy a combination of different psychotherapeutic approaches to treat issues like Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Body Image Issues, Eating Disorders, and more.

Choose a Psychotherapist if you…

  • Are dealing with a difficult period of your life and need emotional support.
  • Need to gain some clarity about your goals and life.
  • Could use a different perspective on emotional issues.
  • Want to talk about your feelings and how to address negative ones in a more constructive way.
  • Need Talk Therapy techniques to develop a clearer and more rational decision-making process.
  • Require new coping tools to deal with situations and negative situations.

What Are the Different Qualifications of Each Mental Health Specialist?

Psychologists and therapists receive different education and training.

A psychologist must earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in psychology before they can practice. As faculty in higher education facilities, they may also research topics that interest them with their colleagues. To become a psychologist, you need a PhD or PsyD. Although psychologists with either degree can practice therapy, they need to complete several years of supervised practice before being licensed. Specialists with PhD or PsyD degrees are also qualified to be psychotherapists or conduct structured assessments. 

A therapist must hold a master’s degree and be licensed by their state boards in order to practice. The term therapist is often used to refer to social workers and several types of counselors. As a result, they can hold degrees in a variety of fields, such as an MD, Ph.D., or a Masters.

It is true that psychologists have more advanced training and education, but that does not mean they are better suited for all situations than psychotherapists or counselors.

They all play different roles in providing mental health care.

What is the Role of Each Mental Health Professional?

Its the duty of a psychologist to help patients deal with stressful events.


  • Provides diagnosis and treatment for mental disorders, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.
  • Treats their patients with psychotherapy, or talk therapy.
  • Gives patients support and guidance that aids them in making decisions, understanding what they’re experiencing, and clarifying their feelings so they can make more informed decisions.
  • Helps patients deal with stressful events, overcome addictions, or manage illnesses.


  • Diagnose mental health disorders and develop treatment plans.
  • Refer you for medication or other treatment evaluation.
  • Establishes goals for you and works to help you reach them.
  • The therapist can make a diagnosis, however, if he or she is supervised by a psychologist who can agree with it.

Therapists and psychologists typically work with you to reach your individual therapy goals. Both are generally empathetic, open-minded, and understanding and allow your personal challenges to set the direction of your counseling or therapy.

What Do Psychologists and Psychotherapists Treat?

A therapist offers support through talk therapy.

The following are some ways that a psychologist can assist with mental health concerns:

  • Analyze observations and surveys to determine whether a person has a mental health condition
  • Conduct research on your condition and make treatment. recommendations
  • Provide therapies that may help with your condition.
  • Work through emotions and sensations so you can make better decisions by understanding them better.
  • Consult a psychiatrist if you need prescription treatments.

Instead of diagnosing or researching a particular mental health condition, a psychotherapist concentrates on:

  • Getting a sense of your life and your mental health concerns.
  • Discussing your feelings and addressing them constructively.
  • Helping you make healthy decisions.
  • Offering support through talk therapy techniques.

How Does the Training of Becoming a Psychologist and Psychotherapist Differ?

The effects of stress on mental health are explained by psychologists.

A psychologist’s training is informed mainly by behavioral science research, which provides insight into how mental health conditions are influenced by stress and other external factors. In addition, behavioral science encompasses clinical-based treatments.

Mental Health Therapists also focus on treatment, but they look more to philosophical and rhetorical theories, combined with long-term clinical observations than to research studies.

This means that psychologists may have a deeper understanding of the science and academic literature of psychology, which may be used to provide treatment.

Do Psychologists and Psychotherapists Follow the Same Approach?

A therapist understands your emotions.

Most therapists use a more holistic approach, covering all aspects of your life and allowing you to make sense of your emotions. Psychologists may focus more on the ways your thoughts and behaviors interact with your surroundings.

Do Psychologists and Mental Health Therapists Offer Services at the Same Cost? 

Take into account the therapy costs.

The cost of therapy is an important factor to consider. The fees of psychologists can be as high as those of a medical doctor. Many therapists charge reasonable fees, but others charge exorbitant fees.

Should I See a Psychologist or Psychotherapist?

Your choice between a psychologist and a therapist ultimately depends on your needs and ultimate goals.  The terms “psychologist” and “therapist” indicate the level of training and education of the professional. Both types of mental health professionals can assist you in setting and achieving therapy goals. Regardless of who you select, make sure that you’re comfortable with them so that you can build a solid foundation for long-term care.

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