Althought Therapy

Difference Between a Psychologist and a Therapist?

Are you looking for a therapist? Maybe you have come across a few different terms such as a mental health professional, therapist, counselor, and psychologist. This blog article will help you understand the difference between a therapist and a psychologist.



A psychologist is a trained professional who studies and practices psychology, the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychologists work to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They often help individuals and groups address mental health issues, improve emotional well-being, and develop coping strategies.

Psychologists may specialize in various fields such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, or organizational psychology. Their work can include conducting research, providing therapy, administering psychological assessments, and developing treatment plans to support mental health and personal growth.

Psychologists are:

  • Hold a doctoral degree in psychology
  • Conduct psychological research or provide therapy
  • Diagnose disorders in patients/clients
  • Determine appropriate treatments based on clinical diagnoses and observations
  • Collaborate with psychiatrists
  • Assist patients/clients in making decisions and clarifying feelings
  • Offer support and guidance
  • Sometimes prescribe medication (some states, with additional licensure)

Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist is a professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychologists have extensive training, typically holding a doctorate in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). They often obtain independent licensure.

Psychologists’ work is focused on the science of psychology. They apply this knowledge to help individuals manage and overcome various psychological issues.

Clinical psychologists play a crucial role in mental health care. They undergo training to assess and diagnose a wide range of psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. They use various assessment tools, including standardized tests, clinical interviews, and observational methods, to gather information about a client’s psychological functioning. This comprehensive assessment helps them develop an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan.

One of the primary roles of a clinical psychologist is to provide psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. They use different therapeutic approaches depending on the needs of their clients.

Some common types of therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors
  • Psychodynamic therapy, which explores unconscious processes and past experiences influencing present behavior
  • Humanistic therapy, which emphasizes personal growth and self-acceptance
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is designed to help clients regulate emotions and improve interpersonal relationships.

Through these therapeutic methods, clinical psychologists help clients understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They also help clients develop coping strategies, and make positive changes in their lives.

Clinical psychologists also engage in research to advance the understanding of mental health and improve treatment methods. Their research can cover a wide array of topics, such as:

  • The causes of mental illness
  • The efficacy of different therapeutic approaches
  • The impact of social and environmental factors on mental health.

This research is critical in developing evidence-based practices that enhance the effectiveness of psychological treatments.

Psychologists often work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Other healthcare professionals include psychiatrists, social workers, and primary care physicians, to provide comprehensive care to their clients.

For example, they might work with a psychiatrist to coordinate medication management for a client with severe depression. Or they may collaborate with a social worker to address environmental factors contributing to a client’s anxiety. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that clients receive holistic care that addresses all aspects of their well-being.

Another important aspect of a clinical psychologist’s work is prevention and education. They often engage in community outreach programs, workshops, and seminars to educate the public about mental health issues. By reaching the public and providing education this can help reduce stigma and promote mental wellness.

Psychologists also support education through providing training and supervision to pre-licensed psychologists. By providing supervision to individuals new in their career they help shape the next generation of mental health professionals.

Clinical psychologists work in various settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, academic institutions, and government agencies. Their clients range from children to older adults, and they may work with individuals, couples, families, or groups. The versatility of their training allows them to address a wide spectrum of psychological issues. from everyday stress and life transitions to severe mental illnesses.

In summary, a clinical psychologist is a highly trained professional dedicated to understanding, diagnosing, and treating mental health issues. They provide psychotherapy, conduct research, collaborate with other healthcare providers, and engage in public education. Clinical psychologists play a vital role in improving the mental health and overall well-being of individuals and communities.



A mental health therapist is a professional trained to help individuals, couples, families, and groups manage and overcome various psychological issues and emotional challenges. These professionals are skilled in providing therapeutic interventions and support to people experiencing mental health disorders, life transitions, stress, and personal difficulties. Therapists play a crucial role in promoting mental wellness and improving the quality of life for their clients.

Mental health therapists come from diverse educational backgrounds and hold various qualifications. Qualifications include master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, or certifications. Certifications include fields like psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling, or substance abuse treatment.

Common titles for these professionals include:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Licensed professional counselors (LPC)
  • Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW)
  • Marriage and family therapists (MFT)
  • Licensed mental health counselors (LMHC)

Each of these roles requires specialized training and state licensure.

The primary goal of a mental health therapist is to provide psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This process involves creating a safe, confidential, and supportive environment where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Mental health therapists also conduct assessments and evaluations to diagnose mental health disorders. They use standardized tests, clinical interviews, and observational techniques to gather comprehensive information about a client’s psychological functioning.

The assessment helps the therapist develop an individualized treatment plan. The treatment plan outlines specific goals and interventions to address the client’s needs. This diagnostic process is essential for providing accurate and effective treatment.

In addition to individual therapy, mental health therapists may offer couple, family, or group therapy sessions. These formats allow clients to address relationship dynamics, improve communication, and build support networks.

For example, family therapy can help resolve conflicts, improve parenting strategies, and enhance family cohesion. Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals with similar issues can share experiences and coping strategies.

Therapists include:

  • May include psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage counselors, life coaches, and social workers
  • Can hold various degrees: master’s degree, PhD, MD, or certifications
  • Degrees in different disciplines: social work, substance abuse, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or family counseling
  • Assist patients/clients in making decisions and clarifying feelings
  • Offer support and guidance
Take the first step towards better mental health today! Contact Althought Therapy in Lakewood, serving Denver, Lakewood, Golden, Arvada, and Wheat Ridge, CO, to schedule an appointment with a highly trained clinical psychologist. Together, we can help you achieve emotional well-being and a brighter future. Call us now to start your journey to healing and self-discovery!


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