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Psychology & Psychologists

TherapyThe British CBT & Counselling Service is a team of Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists. The field of Psychology and the practice of Psychologists is wide and varied and it can be easy to become confused when looking for help. Our guide to Psychology and Psychologists aims to help you to make a choice about the type of help you need and the best people to provide it.

What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and of behaviour. Psychology aims to understand both individuals and groups by exploring how we think, feel and behave in different situations.

What is a Psychologist?

A Psychologist is someone who works in the field of psychology.  A Psychologist will be trained as both a therapeutic practitioner (someone who delivers treatment for psychological and emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression) and a scientific researcher (someone who explores and expands the field of psychology through scientific research). On completion of their training they choose whether to continue as Professional Psychologist or a Research / Academic Psychologist. Here we focus on Professional Psychologists.

 

Clinical Psychology

A Clinical Psychologist has been trained to help people reduce emotional distress and improve their psychological health and well being. Clinical Psychologists achieve this through a combination of techniques including assessment and diagnosis, psychological treatment and therapy and where possible prevention of a problem. The treatments offered by Clinical Psychologists depend on their training, the problem being addressed, the patient’s individual characteristics, history, goals and the evidence. Clinical Psychologists are trained to work with children, adolescents, adults and older adults.

Training

The training programme for a Clinical Psychologist in the UK takes between 7 and 10 years and involves the following components:

  • Undergraduate Degree in Psychology (BA or BSc)
  • Apprenticeship as an Assistant Psychologist
  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Counselling Psychology

A Counselling Psychologists has been trained in a similar way to a Clinical Psychologist; to work across the life span to resolve a range of emotional problems.

Training

The training programme for a Counselling Psychologist in the UK takes between seven and nine years and involves the following components:

  • Undergraduate Degree in Psychology (BA or BSc)
  • Apprenticeship as an Assistant Psychologist
  • Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.

Forensic Psychology

A Forensic Psychologist has been trained in the application of psychology to legal issues. Specifically, a forensic psychologist will be concerned with an array of psychological problems including the reliability of evidence, the reliability of eyewitnesses, the role of human memory, the psychology of decision-making, (particularly group decision making as in juries) and questions of general credibility of witnesses.

Occupational Psychology

An Occupational Psychologist has been trained in the application of psychology within the workplace. They will focus on both diagnostic and preventive issues relating to returning to work, psychological stability in the work environment, absenteeism, accidents and accident proneness and problems of retirement.

Educational Psychology

An Educational Psychologist is trained in the psychology of theories and problems in education.  Specifically they will work with the application of principles of learning to the classroom, curriculum development and reform, testing and evaluation of aptitude an abilities, socialisation process and their interaction with psychological functioning.

Health Psychology

A Health Psychologists is trained in the application of psychology to people’s attitudes, behaviour and thinking about health and illness. Specifically they help people to deal with medical treatments and illness and work in the area of health promotion and illness prevention e.g. smoking, skin cancer and safe sex.

Sports Psychology

A Sports Psychologist is trained in the application of psychology to performance and how participation in sport/exercise affects individuals. Specifically they will teach psychology oriented skills for performance improvement, communication, team building and career transitions and work on the prevention and rehabilitation of injury.

In order to practice a Professional Psychologist must be registered with The Health Professional Council – HPC (the professional body responsible for regulating the practice of psychologists) as a ‘Practitioner Psychologist’.

 

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Although parallel in many respects to a Clinical or Counselling Psychologist a Psychiatrist takes the point of view that emotional and behavioural problems are medical problems and that the people suffering from them are mentally ill. As such a Psychiatrist is trained in abnormalities and their prevention and cure and little training is received in theories of normal behaviour and research techniques for the advancement of the field of psychology. It is often the case therefore that a Psychiatrist will treat emotional and behavioural problems using a medical intervention for example drug treatment, electroconvulsive shock therapy.  A Psychologist will help the individual to understand the factors underlying the problem and teach them practical and psychological techniques to reduce current symptoms and avoid relapses.