Psychology FAQ

Questions about Psychology

What is a Psychologist?

Since Dr. Stroup received her training in the United States, the American Psychological Association (APA) definition of a "Professional Psychologist" will be offered: "Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school." According to the APA, "it is the general pattern to refer to master's-level positions as counselors, specialists, clinicians, and so forth (rather than as "psychologists")."

On the other hand, it is common practice in many countries, including Turkey, to refer to master's level - and indeed bachelor's level - positions as psychologists.

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with maladaptive or abnormal human behavior. Clinical psychologists perform diagnosis, treatment, and research. This field's historical approach is principally anchored in medicine. Clinical psychologists are increasingly focused on clinical practice and application of scientific research for the benefit of patients.

According to the APA's Society of Clinical Psychology, "An earned doctorate from a Clinical Psychology program represents the basic entry level for the provision of Clinical Psychology services. Unique to Clinical Psychology training is the requirement of substantial course work in the areas of personality and psychopathology, resulting in comprehensive understanding of normal and abnormal adjustment and maladjustment across the life span."

What do PsyD and PhD mean?

PsyD stands for Doctor of Psychology. It is awarded to graduates of programs designed to produce practitioners who apply the science of psychology. In this way it is comparable to the MD, or Doctor of Medicine, degree, which is for practitioners applying the science of medicine.

The PhD, on the other hand, is a research-oriented degree, awarded to graduates of programs designed to produce researchers in various academic and scientific disciplines, such as history, business, sociology, or the various branches of psychology up to and including clinical psychology.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that both PsyDs and PhDs (in psychology) receive training and supervision in both clinical practice and in the conduct of research. The distinction is a matter of emphasis - not of an absolute difference. They are equivalent degrees with different orientations - the PsyD to clinical practice and the PhD in Psychology to academic research. However, many PsyDs become accomplished professors and researchers alongside their PhD counterparts. Similarly, PhDs routinely depart from their academic background to develop clinical practice skills like those of their PsyD colleagues.

What is the difference between Psychiatry and Psychology?

A psychiatrist has completed medical school and holds an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degree. In Residency, he or she received specialized training in the field of psychiatry. As physicians, psychiatrists have achieved a rigorous medical education and abide by the medical traditions of professional ethics and medical responsibility for providing comprehensive care.

A psychologist may have completed a master's degree, or if fully licensed, holds a doctorial degree from a university or a professional school, a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology), or an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education). Generally, if he or she is in clinical practice, the degree will be in Clinical Psychology. Psychologists treat mental and emotional disorders with psychotherapy. Clinical Psychologists also specialize in psychological testing and evaluation.