What Can Psychologists Treat?
Getting relevant results from a “psychologist near me” search can be challenging. Here, we’ll show you where to look.
The human mind is a vast, complex space of limitless potential. However, relatively little is known about it. Several “entire” disciplines are devoted to discovering, learning, and understanding the mind’s capabilities and functionalities. One of such disciplines is psychology. 1
Psychology is a branch of science that investigates human cognitive states, actions, and conduct. Simply put, psychology is the scientific study of the mind concerning its effects on human activities and behaviors. So, what exactly is a psychologist? It’s a straight deduction that people who practice psychology are known as psychologists (also known as psychotherapists). However, that doesn’t effectively explain who a psychologist is. 2
Read on in this article to learn more about what psychologists can treat and how to find a psychologist near you who best suits your recovery needs.
What is Psychology? An Introduction
What is a Psychologist?
A psychologist is a highly trained medical professional specializing in the study of the mind (mental health) and its effects on behaviors and actions. Beyond just studying mental health conditions, however, a psychologist is also knowledgeable about the various indications and best treatment procedures for treating and managing mental health conditions. 3
What do Psychologists Study?
Psychologists are educated and trained for several years in the discipline of psychology (the study of the mind, mental health, and its effects on behavior, decision making, and actions). This training usually consists of four to six years of full-time undergraduate study. Then individuals still interested in the field will have to further their educations with graduate and postgraduate programs. 4
Prospective psychologists are also generally expected to conduct research and participate in training programs while running their graduate and postgraduate courses. They’ll have to complete a one-year supervised internship before finally graduating. They’ll also be required to write and pass national licensure exams. 4
Because the field of psychology is in constant development, psychologists are expected to periodically update their knowledge via several continuing education programs each year. These courses are essential for psychologists to continue practicing. Psychologists who want to prescribe medications will have to undergo further training and development. 4
Where Do Psychologists Work?
There are several different types of psychologists, each type with its area of specialization. As such, there are several possible places you’ll be able to find a psychologist. A simple google search of “psychologists near me” should leave you with some ideas of where to find a psychologist. However, if you would instead not do a “psychologists near me” search, you should know that there are several places where you’ll be able to work as or find a psychologist.
Some psychologists prefer the option of a private practice where they work directly with clients. Others may opt for public practice, which will allow them to work in several institutions such as schools, jails, community health centers, hospitals, and even rehabilitation clinics. There is also a third option of research. Psychologists who prefer not to “practice” or interact with individuals directly can work in research institutions that focus on making discoveries and improving the knowledge base of psychology.4
Psychologists vs. Psychiatrists vs. Therapists
As mentioned earlier, the mind is a very vast space with countless unknowns. Hence, several fields of discipline aim to improve man’s understanding of the mental and its effects on actions and behaviors, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists. Some people use these terms interchangeably, but these professions are different, each with a specific, unique characteristic.
To differentiate a psychologist from other mental health counselors or professionals, you must understand what a psychologist does.
What Do Psychologists Do?
What a psychologist does usually depends on the type of psychologist. However, irrespective of the kind of psychologist, there are some things common to all types of psychologists. Psychologists observe, evaluate and record how people interact with one another and their surroundings to better understand mental, emotional, and social interaction dynamics, including behavior. 5
One of their key objectives is to assess their clients’ thought and idea patterns and identify the links between these patterns to observable behaviors and actions. They usually accomplish this by doing the following:
- Studying and identifying thought, emotion, and behavior patterns
- Identifying and diagnosing mental disorders
- Providing suitable treatment recommendations and mental health counseling
- Conducting research to affect the development of effective treatment approaches
What is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
Although they appear similar and may have some overlapping functions (since both disciplines are adequately trained to detect the presence of mental disorders), there are distinct differences between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. 6
A psychiatrist is a licensed health professional specializing in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental diseases. A psychiatrist is educated to distinguish between mental health issues and other physical illnesses that may appear with psychiatric symptoms. Beyond diagnosis, however, psychiatrists are also authorized to issue prescriptions since they are licensed medical practitioners. A psychologist, however, is not permitted to give prescriptions to individuals, so they mostly only handle the “psychotherapy” part of things. A psychologist will usually only handle mental illness cases that do not require medication for treatment in private practice. 7
However, there are a couple of states in the US where psychologists (with certain specific licenses) are authorized to prescribe medications to individuals.7
What is the Difference Between a Therapist and a Psychologist?
Another term commonly used interchangeably with a psychotherapist is a therapist (mental health counselor), although, as with psychiatrists, there are some areas of overlap. Nevertheless, there are some differences. Therapists, or psychotherapists, have a degree that qualifies them as medical doctors, unlike psychologists. 8 Also, therapists generally don’t conduct research into understanding mental health conditions. Instead, they focus more on identifying mental health concerns in individuals and gradually help them work through them. 9
What Can Psychologists Treat?
Psychologists are trained, licensed mental health professionals well-equipped with the necessary skills to provide beneficial mental health interventions and treatments. Psychotherapists have provided much-needed help in several mental health disorder cases.
Mental Illnesses Psychologists Specialize in Treating
Some of the mental illnesses psychologists can help treat include:
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Personality disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
It’s important to note that while psychologists can provide much-needed help for alleviating the symptoms of these mental illness conditions through psychotherapy, the best treatment results are usually obtained when psychotherapy is combined with medications. You’ll most likely find that most psychologists (especially those not licensed to prescribe medications) work in concert with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to achieve optimum treatment results. 10
Other Conditions Psychologists Can Treat
Beyond the above-listed mental health conditions, there are several other mental health conditions a psychologist can treat. If it affects your mental health, then a psychologist will likely be able to provide the help you need or refer you to other medical health professionals that may be more suited to handle your treatment if the psychologist is unable or unlicensed.
Types of Psychologists
The discipline of psychology is extensive, and as such, there is a need for specialization. This specialization helps ensure individuals get the best care from professionals highly trained to deal with their specific conditions and challenges. There are several different types of psychologists, each with a somewhat specific area of specialization. These types include:
A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional specializing in offering and providing extensive mental illness diagnosis and treatment services for several clients such as individuals, families, companies, and even communities. Beyond diagnosis and treatment, however, a clinical psychologist is also involved in training, teaching, and research in the mental health space. 11
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychologists
Cognitive psychologists (behavior psychologists) specialize in researching and understanding the human perception of the environment and surroundings and how these perceptions influence action, decision-making, and behaviors. This type of psychologist aims to understand the relationship between human perception and actions that result from these perceptions. 12
Counseling psychologists are among the most popular, commonly encountered types of psychologists. A counseling psychologist (mental health counselor) provides help to people who are dealing with several different emotional and cognitive health problems. They focus on helping individuals identify the root causes of their mental and emotional challenges and help them overcome these challenges step by step. Counseling psychologists are generally very empathetic and have excellent listening and communication skills which help them connect easily with individuals. 13
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy or approach to learning and education. There have been variations in the results obtained from several individuals who were taught the same way under the same circumstances. So, there is a recognized need to understand the reasons for these variations to develop effective strategies for resolving them.
Educational psychologists are the type of psychologists that focus on identifying and analyzing recognized learning strategies to improve understanding of how people acquire and remember new information. 14
They do this by interacting with teachers and students in a school environment (although this isn’t all they do). Educational psychologists have different areas of “specialization,” with some focusing on certain parts of the population. In contrast, some others deal with analyzing the occurrence of mental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), etc., and their effects on learning and information retention. 14
Environmental psychologists focus on identifying and explaining the relationship between humans and the environment, specifically how they perceive and interact with the environment. This type of psychologist usually works for organizations, government agencies, and other companies interested in climate and the environment. 15
Health psychologists research how individuals cope with diseases, why some individuals ignore professional advice, and the most efficient approaches to manage discomfort and modify bad habits. They also devise healthcare plans that promote general wellbeing.
In addition to the above, health psychologists take part in individual or group therapies and conduct several types of research. They could investigate the causes of mental health issues and how to prevent them. They may also assist individuals in comprehending and accepting a medical diagnosis or sticking to a treatment plan to improve treatment outcomes. 16
Neuropsychologists and Behavioral Neuropsychologists
A neuropsychologist is a mental health professional specializing in identifying and diagnosing several neurological health disorders. 17
Neuropsychologists help detect the presence of neurological diseases like dementia and help determine the stage and severity of the neurological condition. From their diagnosis, they can also suggest treatment procedures that will help improve the individual’s condition. 18
Rehabilitation psychologists study several disabilities and chronic health conditions to provide excellent quality of care and support. They help people who have a disability or chronic health diagnosis accept their diagnosis and adapt to new living requirements and conditions. They are also typically in charge of developing appropriate treatment plans after individual examination and diagnosis. 19
Some rehabilitation psychologists work with a broad spectrum of people with various impairments and diseases, while others focus on a specific group. They may also assist individuals in establishing an effective support group. 19
Social psychologists are another common type of psychologist. Social psychologists work to allow for an improved understanding of the impact of group dynamics on individuals’ decisions, behaviors, and relationships. They research the impact of individual thought patterns, emotions, and actions on other people and how these interactions impact bias, aggressiveness, romance, and friendship. 20
Social Psychology Explained
Other Types of Psychologists
Other types of psychologists include:
- Forensic psychologists
- Organizational psychologists
- Sports and exercise psychologists 21
How to Find a Psychologist Near Me?
If you’ve been wondering, “how do I find a psychologist near me?” This section is for you. One of the easiest ways to go about this is to switch on your location and google search “psychologists near me.” You should get results that identify psychologists close to you. If you’re unable or would instead not do a “psychologist near me” search, you can request a recommendation from your doctor. Your doctor should be able to direct you to a competent psychologist close to your home.
Note, however, that a “psychologist near me” search or request may not always be possible. You might need to visit a specialist psychologist and not find anyone close to your location upon conducting a “psychologist near me” search.
Child and Teen Psychologist Near Me
Finding a “child psychologist near me” is relatively easy. Psychologists work in various places, including schools, so you should be able to get a child psychologist recommendation from your child’s school. The other options involve seeking a child psychologist recommendation from your medical doctor or doing a google search. The same applies to doing a psychologist near me search for teens. However, if you intend to act on the results you got from a “find a psychologist near me” Google search or any recommendation not coming from an official source, you may want to verify that the psychologist is licensed.
What Treatments Do Psychologists Use?
Psychologists usually employ one main treatment method in dealing with individuals: psychotherapy. They will determine what treatment opportunities are best for each individual based on their unique needs, expectations, and mental and physical circumstances.
Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) is a form of mental health therapy commonly used to treat and manage mental health illnesses. In psychotherapy, you’ll hold conversations with your psychologist or other mental health professionals as they try to identify potential mental health conditions. In psychotherapy, psychologists also talk with individuals to help them overcome their mental health challenges.
Sometimes, psychotherapy alone isn’t sufficient to provide relief or adequately manage an individual’s mental illness, so psychotherapists combine psychotherapy with medications for optimum treatment results. Note, however, that not all psychologists are licensed to prescribe medications for treatment purposes. Hence, you’re likely to find psychotherapists referring individuals to other medical practitioners who are authorized to prescribe needed medications.
What to Expect in Your First Appointment with a Psychologist
The “fine print” may differ from psychologist to psychologist; however, there are things you can expect to encounter in your first appointment with a psychologist or mental health therapist. Examples of expectations can be referenced from the list below:
- Asking questions: your psychologist will likely have several questions for you. These questions are usually aimed at making you more comfortable, judging your awareness of your condition, and generally understanding your person and history.
- Doing some tests: After questions, the next thing you should expect from your appointment with your psychologist is a psychological test (or tests). These tests will assist your psychologist in coming to a definite diagnosis of your condition. The tests may evaluate your mood, behaviors, personality traits, focus, and information retention.
- Talking about treatments: Once your psychologist has arrived at a definite diagnosis, the next step is developing and discussing possible available treatments with you.
Find Psychologists at Essence Health and Wellness
Essence Health and Wellness Clinic is a beautiful, professional, and effective multidisciplinary center that provides various services such as counseling, physiotherapy, and even psychotherapy. We can help you determine what treatment route is the best for your overall optimized well being.
Why Hire a Psychologist at Essence Health and Wellness?
Essence’s psychotherapy team comprises highly qualified and licensed psychotherapists adequately trained to deliver excellent client-centered treatment. Here, individuals will have access to the best quality of care available to address their mental health needs.
Your overall wellness is of the utmost importance to us; we’ll do everything to ensure that your treatment journey is as safe, secure, and healing as possible. We’ll help you regain autonomy over your own life and wellbeing.
If you’re ready to start your recovery journey, contact us. Our team members are here to help you, and we look forward to getting to know you and growing alongside you.