Psychologist Fact Sheet
Who We Are: Psychologists are doctorate level clinical health care providers who have completed a minimum of 4 years post graduate didactic and clinical coursework as well as a one year full time pre-doctoral residency (clinical work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist). Licensed psychologists must also complete one year full time postdoctoral supervised experience and then complete a national licensing exam. Licenses are administered at the state level and some states also have a state specific licensing exam. Licensed psychologists are independent practitioners and do not typically require supervision.
Where We Work: Psychologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient medical and mental health clinics, schools, private practice outpatient settings, forensic settings (jail, prison, court), academic institutions, and/or research centers.
Scope of Practice: Psychologists work with individuals, couples, families, and systems to identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders. Psychologists base their evaluations on information obtained from interviews, psychological tests, records, and reference materials. This work can include helping clients gain insight, define goals, and plan action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. Treatment includes a variety of evidence based methods such as psychotherapy, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, and play therapy. Topics addressed include anxiety and depression, trauma, behavioral challenges in children, substance abuse, interpersonal difficulties, and suicidal/homicidal ideation.
In addition to direct clinical contact, psychologists also write psychological evaluations, testify in court, perform program evaluations, lead research, teach and do trainings, and supervise other psychologists or mental health professionals.
Interprofessional Collaborations: Psychologists are available to consult with a wide variety of health care professionals. They can assist with issues such treatment and medication compliance and health based behavior modification to support healthy lifestyles. Collaborations can include direct work with clients or consultations with other health care professionals about ways to integrate mental health issues into their practice to ensure a more comprehensive and effective treatment model. Examples of consultations include; consulting with pharmacists and PAs for clients who are on medications to better understand side effects and how these are contributing to presenting mental health symptoms; consulting with providers who are having difficulties with treatment compliance due to underlying mental health issues. E.G., PT or OT who has a client that is not following through with recommended homework; a dental hygienist whose client is not following treatment recommendations; a PA or pharmacist whose client is not taking medications as prescribed or who continues to engage in unhealthy behaviors (eat unhealthy food, failure to exercise, risky behaviors, etc.); consulting with audiology and SLP to better understand audiology, speech, and language strengths and deficits and how they can impact psychological testing and social and individual functioning and how they interact with underlying mental health issues; consulting with MHAs to make sure the health care environment (clinic, practice, hospital) is effective. This can include working with MHAs to create an accessible, effective, and culturally competent clinical and work environment for all.
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