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Lindsey Hoskins & Associates

Therapist Tysons Corner VA

What Is the Difference Between Clinical Psychologist and a Mental Health Therapist?Throughout life there may come a time when you choose to find help for the variety of issues life can throw at you. Some people choose to find someone to talk to and make changes themselves, while others look for help for mental illness. Regardless of what you choose, the process can be frustrating and overwhelming as there are so many types of professionals available. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged by the number of professionals available. Each professional is available to provide guidance and help you work through your troubles.

There are two very common types of mental health professionals: clinical psychologists and mental health therapists. While they are similar, they have many differences. They both require to be licensed by the state, are mental health practitioners, and their duties overlap, however, there are distinctions and their training is vastly different.

Education and Training
A mental health therapist requires a master’s degree in a variety of concentrations. Their focus is usually on the practical skills they will need to help their patients go through a wide variety of challenges in their life. These programs offer different courses that focus on diversity, multicultural issues, career development, and human growth and development. Therapist programs do not have courses in research and statistics.

Clinical psychologists are required to complete their education at the doctoral level. They are also required to work individually with clients from a counseling and clinical level during their residencies. One of the main focuses of their education is psychopathology, which varies by specialist, and are usually the main services offered in practice.

Scope of Practice
While the responsibilities of a clinical psychologist and a mental health therapist can overlap, they do vary greatly. Both offer basic-level counseling, but their practice mainly focuses on what they studied throughout their training.

One major difference is that clinical psychologists are able to administer an assortment of cognitive testing, which determine basic neurological function. Clinical psychologists primarily focus their practice on those with mental illness, mainly because their training is heavily involved with psychotherapy. However, if they are in a private practice, they have the option of focusing on therapy. A patient may have more options if they use a clinical psychologist as the clinical psychologist has had to study a multitude of sub-specialties. Mental health counselors are not able to perform cognitive testing or are limited to only some assessments in very strict conditions.

When to See a Clinical Psychologist vs. Mental Health Therapist
For counseling needs, you are free to see a mental health therapist or a counseling clinical psychologist. However, there are some reasons you should only see a clinical psychologist instead of a mental health therapist. Some of the roles performed by clinical psychologists include:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders
  • Treatment of psychological disorders
  • Drug and alcohol treatment

Schedule a Consultation
Making the decision to seek the assistance of a therapist Tysons Corner VA patients recommend is a big step. It is important that you find the right practice for your condition. At Lindsey Hoskins & Associates, it is our goal to treat our patients with respect and dignity, as well as find the best treatment plan available. Contact our Tysons Corner VA office to schedule a consultation today.