A psychologist is a specialist that has earned a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology. The process of earning this title typically takes 10-12 years, including undergraduate and graduate studies. Often, one’s full discipline encompasses a separate master’s degree, obtained prior to graduating with a doctoral degree. The training to become a psychologist includes extensive academic coursework, supervised guidance and development in psychotherapy, research conducted in the field of psychology, and education in psychological assessment. Many psychologists will choose areas of focus or specialty to complement their core training.
A licensed psychologist has completed all requirements listed above to earn the psychologist designation, including a year-long pre-doctoral internship prior to graduation. In addition, a licensed psychologist has completed 1+ years of a post-doctoral fellowship after graduation and passed all required testing by the state licensing board in order to independently practice.
Post-doctoral fellows are psychologists who are provisionally licensed, have completed and received their doctoral degree(s) in psychology, and are earning supervised hours towards full licensure.
Chrysalis practicum interns are graduate students in local clinical and counseling psychology doctoral programs, obtaining supervised experience as part of their training to become psychologists.
Psychologist is a legally protected term. Therapist, counselor, psychotherapist, and other related terms are not legally protected terms, and therefore various professional groups also utilize these designations. For example, licensed professional counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and others may all be referred to as a therapist or counselor.