Who is a psychologist and what does they do?

Who is a psychologist and what do they do?

  • Who is a Psychologist?

An individual who is specialized in the field of psychology is known as a Psychologist. The psychologist is mostly involved in the process of evaluation, diagnoses, treatment, and to study behaviour and mental processes.

Psychologists are more concerned about human behaviour and they spend their careers observing and interpreting the causes of the behaviour of human and animals.  From the last few years, the world is facing many disasters, both natural and man-made or a combination of these two. In these conditions, people suffer a lot from psychological and physical problems. Social (relationship, choosing a career) and personal life (life satisfaction) of people is also affected due to such disasters. Psychologists help people to bounce back to their normal life functioning.

Psychologists can use their knowledge of human behaviour in several areas of specialization—such as

    1. Clinical psychology,
    2. Forensic psychology
    3. Developmental Psychology
    4. Industrial-organizational Psychology
    5. Health Psychology
    6. Social Psychology

Health Psychologist:   

They are focused in the field of health (promotion and maintenance). They also work on how patients handle sickness, the reason why people don’t follow medical advice. Health Psychologist also studies and find a solution to control poor health issues.  They also develop health care strategies that foster emotional and physical well-being. Health psychologists often team up with medical personnel in private practice and in hospitals to provide patients with complete health care. They educate medical staff about psychological problems that arise from the pain and stress of illness and about symptoms that may seem to be physical in origin but actually have psychological causes.

Health psychologists also investigate issues that affect a large segment of society. They also develop and implement programs to deal with these problems. Examples are teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviours, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet.

Developmental Psychologists

Developmental psychologists look at human behaviour from the cradle to the grave. These kinds of psychologists study how people cognitively, socially and physiologically develop throughout their lives. People who work in this field usually focus their attention on one stage in human development—such as childhood, adolescence or old age.

Forensic Psychologists

Forensic psychologists use their knowledge of psychology to contribute to the legal system—specifically, they work in criminal cases, family court cases and civil cases. These psychologists testify in court and give their expert opinions about whether someone is fit to testify in court, refuse medical treatment or be punished for a crime by execution. Forensic psychologists may also work in cases involving child custody, domestic violence and adoption.

These psychologists testify in court and give their expert opinions about whether someone is fit to testify in court, refuse medical treatment or be punished for a crime by execution.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Industrial-organizational psychologists are concerned with issues that take place in the workplace—such as keeping up morale in the workplace and what motivates people in the office. Their work includes training and screening job applicants, and they conduct research about issues related to management.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists work includes training and screening job applicants, and they conduct research about issues related to management.

School Psychologists

School psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools to help school personnel—and the parents of students—to create an environment that is supportive of learning and safe for students. Their duties include diagnosing students who have mental and physical challenges, as well as identifying those who are gifted. School Psychologist working with a student.

Social Psychologists

Social psychologists study how people interact with one another in social settings. They may focus on groups, leadership or perceptions that people have about one another. The work of social psychologists includes consulting with organizations and participating in market research.

The work of social psychologists includes consulting with organizations and participating in market research. (Patrick Ryan/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists specialize in mental disorders and work with patients to assess, diagnose and treat these disorders. When they work with patients, they administer diagnostic tests and interview patients to determine what is wrong with them. Their work also includes helping people with mental disorders manage their illnesses. The majority of people who work in the psychology field specialize in this discipline, and they can work with individuals or families.

Qualification for Psychologist?

In the United States:   The doctoral degree is generally recognized and accepted as the education credential for license eligibility to practice independently as a clinical psychologist. There are master’s degree programs, however, some of which are preparatory for doctoral training. Additionally, each state has requirements for the license. A summary of those requirements can be found in the Handbook of Licensing and Certification Requirements for Psychologists in the U.S.

Other qualifications.   Aspiring psychologists who are interested in direct patient care must be emotionally stable, mature, and able to deal effectively with people. Sensitivity, compassion, good communication skills, and the ability to lead and inspire others are particularly important qualities for people wishing to do clinical work and counselling. Research psychologists should be able to do detailed work both independently and as part of a team. Patience and perseverance are vital qualities, because achieving results in the psychological treatment of patients or in research may take a long time.

Certification and advancement.   The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) recognizes professional achievement by awarding speciality certification in 13 different areas.

Job Role

Some of the job roles performed by those working in clinical psychology include:

    1. Assessment
    2. Diagnosis
    3. Treatment and Intervention
    4. Teaching
    5. Supervisor
    6. Researcher
    7. Administrative
    8. Leadership
    9. Counselling,
    10. Consulting

How can differentiate between Clinical Psychologist and Counselor or Therapist?

Clinical psychologists have extensive training in assessing a range of psychological difficulties and determining the most appropriate form of help, as well as being trained in providing more than one type of therapy.

Therapists and counsellors, on the other hand, usually specialist in providing one particular type of therapy, like psychodynamic psychotherapy, or counselling, or cognitive behaviour therapy. If you know what form of therapy would be most likely to help your problem, you might go directly to see a therapist or a counsellor.

Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist 


  1. Doctorate level of academic degree
  2. 5-7 years of training
  3. Can not prescribe medicine
  4. Mostly concern with human behaviour from environmental factor
  5. Verbal counselling and psychotherapy


  1. Medical doctor
  2. 4 years of residency training
  3. 2 years in specialization
  4. Prescribe medication
  5. Mostly concern with human behaviour from biological factor
  6. Shorter session of psychotherapy
  7. Focus medicine management


  • Kpsya.or.ke,. (2015). What role does psychology play in the society today? – Kenya Psychological Association. Retrieved 7 March 2015, from http://www.kpsya.or.ke/help-center/125-what-role-does-psychology-play-in-the-society-today.html
  • Answers.com,. (2015). What qualifications are required to become a psychologist. Retrieved 7 March 2015, from http://www.answers.com/Q/What_qualifications_are_required_to_become_a_psychologist
  • Qc.edu,. (2015). Health Psychology. Retrieved 7 March 2015, from http://www.qc.edu/psychology/BAPROGRAM/Fields/health.html
  • Cox, C. (2015). Duties & Responsibilities of a Psychologist | eHow. eHow. Retrieved 7 March 2015, from http://www.ehow.com/list_6038272_duties-responsibilities-psychologist.html
  • Clinicalpsychology.org.uk,. (2015). About Clinical Psychology. Retrieved 7 March 2015, from http://www.clinicalpsychology.org.uk/


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