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A psychologist is a professional who has earned a doctoral degree in the field of psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school. In New York State, a license must be obtained in order to hold the title of psychologist. For a license, in addition to obtaining a doctoral degree, individuals must complete two years of supervised clinical experience, as well as pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
Psychologists can perform three major roles: teacher, researcher, and clinician. They perform these various roles based upon their position and interests. Some individuals devote all their time to one role (e.g. clinician), whereas other devote their time across roles (e.g. teacher and researcher).
As teachers, psychologists teach at the college level on various topics related to psychology (e.g.personality theory, abnormal psychology statistics, experimental design, social psychology).
As researchers, psychologists are trained to conduct and utilize research. Their research is driven by their interests andcan employ various methods and statistical analyses. This training is unique among mental health providers, as training programs in other mental health disciplines (e.g. social work, psychiatry) do not necessarily provide research training or experience.
As clinicians, psychologist are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat a broad spectrum of mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.). psychologist are uniquely trained to conduct psychological assessment with a diverse range of populations and conditions. Assessments can focus on goals such as: providing or clarifying a diagnosis, developing treatment recommendations, evaluating neuropsychiatric disorders, monitoring progress after traumatic brain injury, and providing recommendations for medical procedures (e.g. for bariatric surgery). Regarding treatments, they are trained to understand the scientific research regarding various treatments for psychological disorders plus they are trained in the provision of a variety of treatment interventions to ameliorate these disorders.. This knowledge is then used to select what are known as Evidence Based Treatments. Evidence based treatments are treatments that consider the unique factors of the individual, their culture, and the scientific evidence supporting their use.