What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have studied psychology at University, usually for six or seven years. They have specialised in learning about how the feelings, actions, beliefs, experiences and culture of people affect the way they live. They have learned how to listen to and understand people’s emotional and psychological problems and how to help people make changes in their lives. All clinical psychologists should be registered with the New Zealand Psychologist’s Board. You should feel free to ask your psychologist whether they are registered and what their qualifications are. “What is the difference between clinical psychology and other types of psychological therapy?” may seem like a simple question. The answer, however, is not at all simple because psychology can be applied in many different ways. Some persons who study psychology end up practising as counsellors, some practice as psychotherapists, and some practice as psychologists. Some people who claim to offer these services have done little or no formal training in psychology, or have studied psychology as part of a broader education (such as psychiatry). To make it even more complicated, some psychologists use techniques of psychological therapy and some use techniques of counselling.