Are psychologists trained to treat schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Some psychologists are trained to help treat people with schizophrenia. Clinical psychologists are trained to treat people who have problems with their feelings, behavior, and thinking patterns, such as those that occur with schizophrenia. Clinical psychologists may also be referred to as psychotherapists. Clinical psychologists can be an important part of the treatment team for individuals with schizophrenia. Typically a psychologist completes a doctorate in psychology and holds a Psy.D. or Ph.D. degree. On occasion, master's level psychologists can also provide therapy for people with schizophrenia. There are only two states that allow psychologists to administer medications, however. These states are Louisiana and New Mexico.
As part of a treatment team - yes.  Treatment of schizophrenia requires a coordinated team and treatment approach including medication, therapy, skills building, and in some cases vocational training, and family therapy to assist family members in working together when someone in the family has schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia is a cyclical disease, and requires different kinds of management depending on whether the patient is experiencing active phase symptoms.  Psychologists have led the charge on some critical research questions on quality of life, treatment, therapy, and predictors of outcome in schizophrenia.   An optimal team would bring together psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and community based resources such as skills/job/educational training.

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