There are many different types of psychologists and the work that they do covers many different, yet related, disciplines. As a result, there can be a lot of confusion about what psychologists do and how they work. With the help of Supporting Wellness, much of that confusion can be cleared up in this article.
What Are Psychologists?
According to the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) “A psychologist studies how we think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint and applies this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their behaviour.“ This is a very broad definition, but it must be, in order to represent the multitude of psychologists and their varied practice areas.
What Do Psychologists Do?
Psychologists can perform several functions, including research, practice and education. Typically, these professionals will choose a specialized area of psychology, such as neuroscience, addictions, anxiety-related disorders or any number of other specializations. You can find a more comprehensive list of psychology topics on the CPA’s “what is a psychologist” page.
Where Do Psychologists Work?
Psychologists can work in a number of facilities. These may be private practice offices, or shared professional space. They may also be research institutions or post-secondary schools where research can be conducted. Some psychologists (and more since the Covid-19 pandemic) even work out of a home office, where they meet patients either in-person or through a video calling service.
Who Can Be a Psychologist?
There are no limits on who can and cannot be a psychologist. Individuals interested in becoming psychologists must attend schooling to receive an education that allows them to challenge a practice exam for the psychology governance system in place in their jurisdiction. If they successfully pass this exam, they are granted a license to practice in their chosen specialization.
Where Do Psychologists Study?
Psychologists typically study at post-secondary institutions. Their education journey begins with a General Education Diploma, followed by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. Then, they will attend graduate school and choose a specialization for their career before completing their doctorate. Next, they will participate in an internship or other relevant work experience before challenging the practice exam to become a fully licensed practitioner.
How Psychologists Work
The world of research for psychologists is quite different on an individual level, and many practicing professionals will conduct research alongside their practice. On the practice side of things, however, the process is often fairly similar. Usually, it begins with an individual approaching a psychologist and requesting treatment for a specific issue.
During the initial meeting, the psychologist will try to better understand the needs of their patient and assess possible treatment options. They may also lead the discussion to gather supporting information. After this meeting, there will be discussions about the best path forward for treatment, and the booking of a subsequent session.
This pattern of assessment, treatment and maintenance will continue until the patient feels their symptoms or problems are suitably addressed and manageable. Some individuals will require continuous treatment or referral to specialists. Others may have complete success from treatment or the reemergence of symptoms afterward. Truly, it is a unique process for every individual.