As a licensed clinical psychologist, I have extensive training in psychotherapy and evidence-based approaches to mental health treatment. There are significant differences between a clinical psychologist and other psychotherapists or master’s prepared clinicians such as LCSW’s, LPC’s, LMFT’s, etc. While there are many fabulous psychotherapists and master’s prepared clinicians, there are some things that set a psychologist apart. In order to become a licensed clinical psychologist, a person must first obtain a bachelor’s degree and then go on to graduate school for at least an additional 4 years of coursework and training, which includes at least 3200 hours of supervised direct psychotherapy. Following graduation from a doctoral program, an additional year of supervised training called a “postdoctoral” year is required. Clinical contact hours and coursework are carefully monitored and recorded to submit as evidence of competency to licensing boards. Then, in order to obtain licensure to practice as a clinical psychologist in any state, you are required to pass a national certification exam called the EPPP (Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology). Finally, after submitting scores on the EPPP along with documentation of coursework and clinical training hours, a local, state-specific exam called the Juris Prudence is taken. Finally, after successful completion of all of these requirements, a state licensing board approves assignment of license and person may officially call themselves a psychologist.
Seem like a lot? It is! But this also means that by choosing a psychologist as your treating provider you are getting someone with extensive training and education delivering your care.