lilmiscassie92

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My initial plan is to go to unlv for my bachelors in psychology and apply to me school. If I don't get in though, I was thinking of becoming a psychologist instead. What are the steps I need to take in order to become and a psychologist? I've read that people can open up their own practice for marriage and family counseling/therapy and work with the hospitals on the weekends for extra income. How can I do this?
 

orthomyxo

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I think you need a Ph.D in psychology. Like vicviper said, be aware that psychology =/= psychiatry.
 
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MFT is what your talking about. Its a 2 year degree, that allows you to do therapy in a practice much like what you described. a lot of people also go on to Get psych Phd or PsychD (not sure on the difference). While PhD's obviously have more training, I'm not really sure what the difference opportunities are for both outside of research. Bare in mind however, Psych doctorates are quite competitive. If you can't get into MD school, you probably won't be able to land a spot at a PhD program.

Also, you should do research into the different roles each person fills. Bare in mind psychologists make far less than MDs ( even in primary care)
 

Doxorubicin

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MFT is what your talking about. Its a 2 year degree, that allows you to do therapy in a practice much like what you described. a lot of people also go on to Get psych Phd or PsychD (not sure on the difference). While PhD's obviously have more training, I'm not really sure what the difference opportunities are for both outside of research. Bare in mind however, Psych doctorates are quite competitive. If you can't get into MD school, you probably won't be able to land a spot at a PhD program.

Also, you should do research into the different roles each person fills. Bare in mind psychologists make far less than MDs ( even in primary care)
My understanding is that the PsyD. and the PhD. differ in that the PsyD. degree is more for clinical psychologists and the PhD. degree is for research psychologists.
 

loveoforganic

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PsyD/PhD discussed extensively on psych boards. T4C will probably come here to clear up the "path to psychologist," but the gist is -

1) Major in psychology.
2) Do plenty of research in psychology, with a thinking role (don't just input numbers).
3) Take GRE's.
4) Apply to PhD programs by person of interest.

Don't know what's required for PsyD programs, so won't comment at all.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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This is a pretty broad topic, so I'll try and hit the highlights. I generalized a bunch of stuff because it is complicated, so if you are serious about study psychology, you'll want to gather more information and talk to more people.

1. What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
A psychiatrist is a person who completes medical school and then goes on to complete a residency in psychiatry to complete their training. A psychologist is a person who completes graduate school and then goes on to complete an internship and post-doc in psychology. Medical school generally takes 4 years, and then residency is 3-4 years. Graduate school generally takes 4-5+ years (depending on how quickly you can complete your research requirements), and then completes a 1 year internship, and then a 1-2 year post-doc. The post-doc year(s) varies on specialty.

A psychiatrist primarily handles medication management and may do therapy, but that is less common. A psychologist primarily does therapy and psych assessments, and does not do medication management. A portion of a psychologist's time in training is devoted to research, though not everyone continues to participate and run research studies as part of their career. Some psychologists make a career out of it, but most go into practice, which can include therapy, assessment, or related areas of practice.

Here is a good link to answer some basic questions: http://www.apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx

2. Competition for a doctorate in psychology is very competitive, so you need to plan for it.
If you want to attend a good program, the acceptance rate will be between 5%-10%, as everyone competes for a handful of spots each year at each university. The highly competitive programs are <5% and the less competitive programs are 20-25%.

To be competitive you need to have research experience, which most people obtain during their undergraduate training. Many people also work as a research assistant after college for a year or two to gain more experience. You can't do therapy as a BA/BS, but there are some clinically-related things you can do like work for a crisis line or similar to learn a bit about that stuff. It is important to know and work with professors during your undergraduate training because you will need at least 3 letters of recommendation for graduate school.

Usually you need a 3.5 or higher overall GPA, a GRE over 1200, and a Psych GRE of at least 650 (this is still optional at many programs). It can take people multiple times to apply and get in,

3. What is the difference between a Psy.D. and Ph.D.?
The short answer is that the Ph.D. was orginally a research degree, and while some people did clinical work (usually therapy), they needed more doctoral level people doing clinical work. Back in the 1960's (ancient times :D ), the Psy.D. was created, which was meant to produce more doctoral level people to do clinical work. It got more popular in the 1970's, and now it is more common...similar to how there is an MD and a DO degree.

Fast forward to today...there are Ph.Ds and Psy.Ds programs available around the country. There are some Ph.D. programs that are more clinically oriented, and Psy.D. programs more research focused, so it isn't as cut and dry as one does researach and one does therapy.

Funding can vary by program. There are funded Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs, which provide $ towards your training. Some cover your classes AND pay a stipend in exchange you do research and/or teach. Other programs give you a % off for stuff, scholarships, etc. There are other programs that don't offer any funding.

4. What is the difference between a social worker, mental health counselor, marriage and family counselor, and a psychologist?

Social worker: They have a BSW, which is a bachelors degree, though most go for an MSW, which is a Masters degree. They study social work theory. They handle everything from case management, to therapy, to figuring out social services. Their training is a mix of a bunch of stuff, depending on the program.You can go for additional training to get a different licensure (LCSW), which stands for a licensed clinical social worker. Social workers can work in hospitals, community mental health centers, gov't jobs, etc.

Mental Health Counselor: They have a Masters in Counseling, with a focus on therapy. They study counseling theory. They can also do case management, though it depends where they work. They often work in similar places as MSWs, though it can vary by state/region. They are licensed as LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) or as an LPC (licensed professional counseling).

Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist: They are similar to a mental health counselor, but they tend to learn more about family systems theory. The MFT is a more recent off-shoot of psychology, but they can do much of the same as the MSW and the MHC. Since it is newer, some states are more familiar with MSWs and MHCs, but that seems to be changing.

Psychologist: A doctorally trained person who studies psychology. There are a number of different types of psychologists (Clinical, Counseling, Industrial/Organizational, Experimental, etc), though most of the time when someone says "psychologist"...they mean a counseling or clinical psychologist. Psychologist is a protected term, which means only doctoral level people can use the title. There are some exceptions like a school psychologists (who may or may not be doctorally trained) or a limited license psychologist (which is a master's level trained person who typically is going for doctoral licensing, but they are still completing the requirements). A psychologist takes classes, completes research (usually completing a dissertation), and then does their clinical training. It is a long road, but the psychologist is trained to be a scientist and a clinician.

A psychologist often works in academia teaching and researching. They also can do clinical work where they provide therapy and assessment. Only psychologists can independantly do psych assessments. There are other types of testing that psychologists do too (like neuropsychology testing), though that gets really confusing.
 
Last edited:
Jan 31, 2010
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This is a pretty broad topic, so I'll try and hit the highlights. I generalized a bunch of stuff because it is complicated, so if you are serious about study psychology, you'll want to gather more information and talk to more people.

1. What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
A psychiatrist is a person who completes medical school and then goes on to complete a residency in psychiatry to complete their training. A psychologist is a person who completes graduate school and then goes on to complete an internship and post-doc in psychology. Medical school generally takes 4 years, and then residency is 3-4 years. Graduate school generally takes 4-5+ years (depending on how quickly you can complete your research requirements), and then completes a 1 year internship, and then a 1-2 year post-doc. The post-doc year(s) varies on specialty.

A psychiatrist primarily handles medication management and may do therapy, but that is less common. A psychologist primarily does therapy and psych assessments, and does not do medication management. A portion of a psychologist's time in training is devoted to research, though not everyone continues to participate and run research studies as part of their career. Some psychologists make a career out of it, but most go into practice, which can include therapy, assessment, or related areas of practice.

Here is a good link to answer some basic questions: http://www.apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx

2. Competition for a doctorate in psychology is very competitive, so you need to plan for it.
If you want to attend a good program, the acceptance rate will be between 5%-10%, as everyone competes for a handful of spots each year at each university. The highly competitive programs are <5% and the less competitive programs are 20-25%.

To be competitive you need to have research experience, which most people obtain during their undergraduate training. Many people also work as a research assistant after college for a year or two to gain more experience. You can't do therapy as a BA/BS, but there are some clinically-related things you can do like work for a crisis line or similar to learn a bit about that stuff. It is important to know and work with professors during your undergraduate training because you will need at least 3 letters of recommendation for graduate school.

Usually you need a 3.5 or higher overall GPA, a GRE over 1200, and a Psych GRE of at least 650 (this is still optional at many programs). It can take people multiple times to apply and get in,

3. What is the difference between a Psy.D. and Ph.D.?
The short answer is that the Ph.D. was orginally a research degree, and while some people did clinical work (usually therapy), they needed more doctoral level people doing clinical work. Back in the 1960's (ancient times :D ), the Psy.D. was created, which was meant to produce more doctoral level people to do clinical work. It got more popular in the 1970's, and now it is more common...similar to how there is an MD and a DO degree.

Fast forward to today...there are Ph.Ds and Psy.Ds programs available around the country. There are some Ph.D. programs that are more clinically oriented, and Psy.D. programs more research focused, so it isn't as cut and dry as one does researach and one does therapy.

Funding can vary by program. There are funded Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs, which provide $ towards your training. Some cover your classes AND pay a stipend in exchange you do research and/or teach. Other programs give you a % off for stuff, scholarships, etc. There are other programs that don't offer any funding.

4. What is the difference between a social worker, mental health counselor, marriage and family counselor, and a psychologist?

Social worker: They have a BSW, which is a bachelors degree, though most go for an MSW, which is a Masters degree. They study social work theory. They handle everything from case management, to therapy, to figuring out social services. Their training is a mix of a bunch of stuff, depending on the program.You can go for additional training to get a different licensure (LCSW), which stands for a licensed clinical social worker. Social workers can work in hospitals, community mental health centers, gov't jobs, etc.

Mental Health Counselor: They have a Masters in Counseling, with a focus on therapy. They study counseling theory. They can also do case management, though it depends where they work. They often work in similar places as MSWs, though it can vary by state/region. They are licensed as LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) or as an LPC (licensed professional counseling).

Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist: They are similar to a mental health counselor, but they tend to learn more about family systems theory. The MFT is a more recent off-shoot of psychology, but they can do much of the same as the MSW and the MHC. Since it is newer, some states are more familiar with MSWs and MHCs, but that seems to be changing.

Psychologist: A doctorally trained person who studies psychology. There are a number of different types of psychologists (Clinical, Counseling, Industrial/Organizational, Experimental, etc), though most of the time when someone says "psychologist"...they mean a counseling or clinical psychologist. Psychologist is a protected term, which means only doctoral level people can use the title. There are some exceptions like a school psychologists (who may or may not be doctorally trained) or a limited license psychologist (which is a master's level trained person who typically is going for doctoral licensing, but they are still completing the requirements). A psychologist takes classes, completes research (usually completing a dissertation), and then does their clinical training. It is a long road, but the psychologist is trained to be a scientist and a clinician.

A psychologist often works in academia teaching and researching. They also can do clinical work where they provide therapy and assessment. Only psychologists can independantly do psych assessments. There are other types of testing that psychologists do too (like neuropsychology testing), though that gets really confusing.

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: