Who is a "real" Psychologist?

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by laferney, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    One can refer to oneself as a mathematician without a degree in maths. One simply has to be a mathematician to refer to onself as a mathematician. The question, however, is what "to be a mathematician" means. Those who aren't paid to teach maths are typically qualified with the title "amateur mathematician" -- as professional mathematicians take the title seriously. Those who get serious publication of their theorems -- amateur or not -- tend to lose the "amateur" -- nobody gets paid to publish in those journals.

    I was once publicly chastised for calling myself a novelist. I've written novels and had them published (two of which under standard publishing agreements), and the word "novelist" means "one who writes novels" -- so publication was not even in the equation.

    As the saying goes: "As long as they don't call me late for dinner."
  2. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    In a similar vein, one can refer to oneself as an artist without having any "education" in art whatsoever.
    It's silliness really, and in the end it's just about money.

    By the way, in the course of this thread I took it upon myself to visit the website of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. They are now offering, for the first time ever, a Masters/PhD program in Clinical Psychology/Psychopathology. The APA approval is pending (gee, I wonder if they'll pass :rolleyes: ) Of course, it's not DL.
  3. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    This is interesting given how market-driven healthcare has become. I have known nurses who were happy to take "business development" and marketing jobs, essentially calling on clinicians seeking patients and referrals, but who steadfastly refused to put "RN" on anything they did in a marketing context.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Yes, I know, but the subject matter deals, to some extent, with degrees.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Yes. I think mathematicians are getting touchier about who calls himself one, since the ubiquity of the Internet. The Net has brought out every crank who thinks he's done a better job at solving this or that Conjecture than some "credentialed" mathematician, and this seems to make the "real" mathematicians very touchy -- as if cranks in maths were ever a real threat to the likes of Wiles. ;)
  6. laferney

    laferney Member

    APA 0r NAMP?

    Interesting posts but I'll get back to my original questions.
    Given that only doctoral level psychologists can be licensed and the profession itself identifies a Psychologist as a doctoral degree holder in Psychology is the Masters degree in Psychology (esp. Clinical or Counseling) an obselete credential or should the entry licensing level for the clinical /applied applications of psychology be a Master's degree like in other countries?
    There is an organization that is promoting the Masters degree as a credential for independent practice and the use of the title "Psychologist".
    Northamerican Association of Masters in Psychology
    Is this organization right to advocate for Master's level Clinical or Counseling Psychology holders to be called Psychologists, or is the postion of the APA right- it requires a doctoral degree in scope and training?
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: APA 0r NAMP?

    It's really up to each individual state and NAMP has been fairly successful in lobbying several states.

    Some states acquiesce to national professional bodies and some don't. The same is true with other behavioral science professions and designations.

    For instance, most states will regulate social work license criteria based on the National Association of Social Workers' and the Academy of Certified Social Workers' criteria and most states will regulate marriage and family therapist criteria based on the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy criteria.
  8. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    I'll bite and reluctantly say that I think the APA is right. This has to be "highly contextualized," as we say in almost every grad school class I have ever taken. The historical issue with psychologists was that they were not MD's and therefore supposedly not "real doctors" like psychiatrists, so a little humility doesn't hurt.

    But I think that the master's degree in psychology really has become not obsolete but rather a separate credential similar to the MSW and master's programs in marriage and family therapy, and since virtually every state has some form of master's level licensure (often at the clinical or independent level), master's degree-holders are not penalized. One could stretch the analogy to say that the MA/MS is to the PhD/PsyD as the physician's assistant is to the physician. The PA can do lots of neat things like write prescriptions, but to say that they should be called physicians is to ignore the reality that they are not.

    It would be nice to see more of a practical distinction or specialization in psych master's programs (counseling psychology programs preparing clinicians to be psychotherapists, clinical psychology programs preparing people to work with the chronically/severely mentally ill, etc) but these distinctions barely exist on paper and rarely in practice. Still, some psych grads will never feel enough of an affinity for an MSW program and all the expectations about worldview and advocacy that can go with this, while a master's degree in psych is still licensable and a good generalist degree. Especially when "licensed clinical professional counselors" and other sundry titles can practice independently, there is no need to mis-identify them as "psychologists."
  9. Rob Coates

    Rob Coates New Member

    The one exception to non-doctoral use of the title "psychologist" is in the field of school psychology. In all 50 states, the title "school psychologist" can be used by sch. psycs licensed at the 60 hour Masters or Ed.S. level. There's a long historical explanation of how this came about in the early 70s that I won't bore you with. In many, if not most states, school psycs are licensed by Departments of Education in their state and are exempt from regulation by the psyc. boards. This is the case in Iowa. In Iowa, sch. psycs can work in any setting including private practice but must refer to themselves as "school psychologist" in order to be exempt from psyc. board regulation. It's also worth noting that the APA has virtually 0 control over the field of school psychology and only a tiny minority of sch. psycs are APA members.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2005
  10. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    Thanks, Rob, this is fascinating. I looked up the Illinois regs and they sound similar, except for specifying that anything private practice needs to be under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist, and that school psychologists were not "general practitioners" of clinical psychology but only equipped to treat "manifested problems...psychoeducational in nature." I looked into school psychology while still in college and was fearful that it seemed like a lot of fairly specific and limited training for jobs that were not exactly plentiful or high-paying. What is your take on this as a career?
  11. Rob Coates

    Rob Coates New Member

    School psyc. programs vary greatly as do work environments. That may be why there is so much turnover in the field. School psycs are constantly looking for the ideal work setting. The program where I was trained was more clinical in nature than most. It's been a great career in my opinion. I used to say school psychology is the "front lines" of psychology. Schools are a microcosm of society. There are lots of perks including pay thats pretty much comparable to clinical psychology, set work hours (never over 40 hours), all sorts of holidays, summers off, and if it snows more than about 4 or 5 inches I get the day off.
  12. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    Summers off is definitely a plus. I had heard that some school districts keep the school psychologists and social workers on more of a 10 1/2 month schedule where they have basically just July off but not the whole summer. Also that SSW and SP began the pay scale at the same level as teachers with bachelor degrees "+2" or somesuch, basically not much more than entry-level teachers. But I did not realize there was high turnover, in fact rather the opposite, that SP tended to stay planted. Set work hours are probably even more attractive to me than summers off--it's working 50-60-70 hours a week that just destroys quality of life. Thanks for the feedback--certainly compared to clinical psych, school ain't bad!
  13. BlackBird

    BlackBird Member

    I am a Masters level therapist. I find that most people really don't care whether you are a psychologist or a psychotherapist. I have a VERY successful private practice, I am finishing up a Ph.D. in psychology (not for licensure) and I teach psychology at the local college. I consistently get people of all walks that don't know and don't care if you are a psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, etc. as long as you can help them. I call myself a psychotherapist on my business cards and I'm better in therapy than most psychologists (attested by a group of psychiatrist and psychologist friends that know me and my work). I find that psychotherapists (outside of giving tests) appear to be more "meat and potatoes" folks that are practical and less theoreticians in therapy. Hence there is a propensity for Masters level therapists being more efficacious in therapy. Just my two cents. No offense to psychologists on this forum. I love you guys!

  14. simon

    simon New Member

    Re: Re: Who is a "real" Psychologist?

    In fact, there are individuals without any formal psychotherapeutic clinical training or graduate education who possess personality traits such as empathy, warmth, positive regard, unconditional acceptance and concern for others as well as high levels of emotional intelligence and insight that makes them very adept at assisting others with their problems. In other words a graduate degree does not automatically translate into being a compassionate and effective therapist. Yes, clinical training can enhance a graduate trainee's clinical skills, counseling interventions and understanding of psychodynamics. However, the provision of psychotherapy is an art and some individuals are "naturals" and clearly gifted in this regard far surpassing the skill levels of other therapists with more formal clinical training and higher degree attainment.
  15. BlackBird

    BlackBird Member

    Re: Re: Re: Who is a "real" Psychologist?


    That was an excellent addition to what I said. You have a great gift of words! I totally agree with you. Your thoughts could have easily been part of an intro to a counseling techniques textbook.


  16. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Who is a "real" Psychologist?

    Well said, and I would add that there are also still some clinicians, both masters-level and doctoral, who work from a far less Rogerian or "humanistic" perspective and are able to serve their clients without such an emphasis on "unconditional positive regard," etc.
  17. simon

    simon New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Who is a "real" Psychologist?

    The factors I noted are not specifically Rogerian (although Rogers was first in conceptualizing and "publicizing" these factors) but serve as the underpinnings for the establishment and maintenance of the therapeutic collaborative alliance with clients regardless of the clinicians' therapeutic preference (ie, behavioral, cognitive, psychanalytic, etc). In fact, according to the factor analytic research studies of Scott, Hubble and Duncan ("Escape from Babel",1997, and the "Heart and Soul of Change", 1999) the structure, model and technique utilized by the therapist only accounts for 15% of the therapeutic outcome whereby the therapeutic relationship is 30%. Extratherapeutic factors (ie, obtaining a great job, getting married to the love of your life, etc)relationship actually are quite significant in bringing about positive change in clients (40%) while placebo, hope and expectancy of better things to come accounts for 15%.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2005
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who is a "real" Psychologist?

    And as Dr. William Glasser, founder of Realty Therapy/Choice Theory said, most people get better whether they receive therapy or not.
  19. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    And I certainly don't expect a good therapist to be a "screamer," but I think the recent rise of "coaching" model therapy is sometimes a partial reaction to the humanistic emphasis on warmth and unconditional acceptance.
  20. David Williams

    David Williams New Member

    IIRC, and this goes back a lot of years, Bergin and Garfield identified the sort of person Simon described as the naturally helpful other.

    With regards to the question of just who is a psychologist I realized a good reference for the layperson might be a list of the APA divisions. To borrow a term from politics APA has a big tent.


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