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A psychologist is someone who performs psychological counselling, does psychological research, or works in an academic capacity (teaching or performing research at educational facilities). In order to become a psychologist, a person must earn a degree in psychology. Psychologists who work directly with patients are clinical psychologists.

Psychologists do not perform the same tasks as psychiatrists. Psychiatrists have more powers with regard to taking care of patients. For example, psychiatrists may write prescriptions for a range of psychoactive drugs, such as anti-depressants and other mood-altering substances.

There are three main disciplines of psychology, and these are:

Clinical, counseling and school psychologists – These types of psychologists spend time with patients, in order to provide therapy that is intended to benefit the mental well-being of patients.

Organizational psychologists – These types of psychologists use psychological research, methodology and tactics in order to solve everyday problems. They may apply their findings and methodologies to businesses in a range of industries, or use their skills and knowledge to assist government departments.

Academic psychologists – Academic psychologists will perform research or teach principles of psychology to their students. These types of psychologists may be found at universities and colleges worldwide.

Psychology Governing Bodies in America

In the United States, the main governing body for psychologists is the American Psychological Association (APA). This organization classifies 56 different types of psychology disciplines, all of which are sub-types of the main three disciplines of psychology. According to this organization, scientists and academics are those who perform research, while those who apply psychological principles are considered practitioners.

This organization recommends that those who wish to become psychologists become well-versed in the clinical and research elements of this discipline, in order to have a wide base of knowledge that may be used in specific jobs. Advanced degrees and doctoral training are required to become registered with the American Psychological Association. Master’s Degrees may suffice in some areas of the country. Therefore, anyone who wants to become a member of the APA must undertake successful, post-doctoral studies.

Every country in the world will have its own governing body for psychology, so rules for membership in various governing bodies will vary.

Salary Expectations for Psychologists

American psychologists who work in a clinical capacity will earn about 66k per annum. Those who work in organizational capacities will earn more, with an average salary of 77k. Salaries for psychologists who work as practitioners in schools will range from 57k to 68k.

Duties of Psychologists

Psychologists must seek to soothe mental distress through their education, attitude, and work techniques. In contrast to psychiatrists, who apply a medical model to patient care, psychologists are not licensed medical doctors. Therefore, they don’t offer their patients access to psychotropic drugs in order to assist them in enjoying better mental health.

Psychologists get plenty of training in the administering of tests, which are interpreted in order to assess problems, abnormalities and mental health issues. These tests include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (among many others). Sometimes, psychologists will perform these tests at the request of psychiatrists. Behavioral research is also a speciality of psychologists.

Other Responsibilities of Psychologists

Psychologists will work to alleviate a range of mental health conditions, including depression, stress and phobias. They will look for neurological, genetic, psychological and social indicators of behaviour, and consider the possible presence of brain injuries and degenerative brain disorders. In addition, they will study cognitive functions, such as learning and memory, to intuit the needs of patients, or the needs of those who are being studied for research purposes.

In order to begin education in the discipline, a strong base of analytical skills, as well as innate compassion is required. Because psychologists perform scientific and research duties, as well as hands-on work with real patients, they require a balance of traits and characteristics.