What kind of training does a psychologist have?

In order to be called a psychologist in most jurisdictions, a psychologist must have a doctorate - which can be a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. depending on their area of focus, etc.  In order for them to be able to independently treat someone (ethically) they must have a license to practice.  Now, this typically is a psychologist license, but some people with Ph.D.s operate under a license such as an MFT which they procured as a master's level clinician and did not move forward to the psychologist license.  A CLINICAL psychologist has completed 5 years of graduate school which includes 3-4 years of coursework, the completion of independent research for a master's thesis and a doctoral thesis, thousands of hours of clinical training in a variety of settings, and one year of predoctoral internship training.  Psychologists in other disciplines who do not practice will have completed graduate school (4-6 years) with 3-5 years of coursework, 2 independent research projects as master's and doctoral projects, and typically acquire additional teaching and research experience along the way.  School psychologists in some states may hold a master's degree with specialized training in school-based settings.
Of all mental health professionals, psychologists receive the most training in psychotherapy. They possess doctoral degrees in psychology (Ph.D., Psy.D.), and spend one or two additional years as clinical interns. They alone provide psychological assessment and testing. In a few states, psychologists also prescribe medication. Tip: Look for a psychologist who earned a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology, not in a related field. Bonus tip: Search for a psychologist board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (designated by the initials ABPP) or recognized by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (

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