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What Is The Difference Between Psychologist And Psychotherapists?

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While both a psychologist and a psychotherapist work towards a common goal, i.e. to get your mental health back on track, there is a difference between the two professions. A lot of people have taken help from the wrong professional due to confusion between the two terms. This article will help you in finding the important differences between both professionals.

Difference between a psychologist and psychotherapist

Psychotherapy is an umbrella term, meaning all psychology professionals and clinical psychologists fall under this category. A psychotherapist is a professional who provides therapy to clients struggling with mental and emotional issues. Psychologists/therapists in Calgary and Edmonton need to comply with specific professional and ethical liabilities. Therefore, the scope of practice among both professionals can be somewhat different if you live in some other area. However, fundamental differences among both professionals are as follows:

Umbrella term

Psychotherapy, also sometimes referred to as talking therapy, involves talking to a trained professional about your feelings to help you overcome any problems you might be facing. Whereas psychology is the study of how people think, interact, act, and react. It is related to different aspects of thoughts and behaviour, motivation and feelings underlying such behaviour.

Focal differences

Psychotherapy can be used to treat individuals, families, couples or even groups. A psychotherapistcan help deal with stress, poor mental health, and any bad habit that you want to get rid of. At the same time, a psychologist specializes in a specific area, such as occupational and educational psychology or mental health. In healthcare, psychologists specialize in health, clinical, counselling, or forensic psychology.

Difference in settings

Psychologists can become therapists and work with clients in a clinical setting or work as researchers in academic settings and labs. However, psychotherapists generally only work in a clinical therapy setting with clients. They can be found in medical centres, schools, community health settings and more. People seek help from psychologists/therapists in Edmonton for their mental illnesses. You can easily find these professionals in your area, and their assistance can significantly improve your quality of life.

Academic differences

Psychotherapists and psychologists have specific academic requirements that need to be met before becoming certified or licensed. Therapists in Edmonton do not require a psychology-based undergraduate education. Their training begins at the graduate level. Therefore if a student comes from any professional background, they will be eligible to train as psychotherapists. It requires graduate education and some applied practice. Things can be different in other areas. On the other hand, a clinical psychologisthas a major in psychology at the undergraduate level and then moves onto clinical psychology programs at the doctorate level, which usually requires four more years of education. They also have to complete a research thesis and clinical placements. License is granted only after graduation. However, requirements can differ between states for the licensure.

The difference in treatment protocols

Psychotherapists might use play and art therapy, integrative and humanistic psychotherapies, psychodynamic therapies, psychoanalytic therapies, systemic and family psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapies, experiential, constructivist therapies, and Hypno-psychotherapy.

Whereas a psychologist may use acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive analytic therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, family therapy, group therapy, interpersonal therapy, mentalization-based therapy, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing

Which is better for you?

Choosing between a psychotherapist and a psychologist depends on which issues you intend to address. The terms psychotherapist and psychologist indicate a specific level of education and training. Both are useful and important for the mental health field. A psychologist or a therapist can be consulted for general counselling, marriage issues, grief, divorce, mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. 

A psychologist may be considered if you want to make concrete changes to your behaviour or thought process. A psychologist with a Ph.D. or a PsyD specialist can help address undiagnosed mental health issues and assist in long-term mental health care with suggestions and recommendations based on research or academic literature.


Therapists in Edmonton often work in clinical settings. Psychologists, on the other hand, can work in more broad settings. The scope of practice and academic requirements can be different based on the area you live in. It is essential to know these differences so that you can choose the right professional to assist you.


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