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No … There are many differences between clinical psychologists and psychotherapists. Some are clearly distinct. Others are subtle and less obvious but may be more significant.

A clinical psychologist has earned a license to assess, diagnose and treat persons with mental and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Usually, after their name, you will find the initials Psy.D. or Ph.D.. However, because a person has these initials after their name does not mean they possess a license to practice psychology. A person could have earned a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Literature. This qualifies them to teach literature, but not to practice psychology.

In most cases, persons with a Psy.D. or Ph.D. have completed enough coursework in psychology and have had enough supervised training and experience working with persons to qualify for a license as a psychologist. However, this does not mean they have one. You should ask the psychologist you are considering working with if they are licensed, about their education, training and areas of expertise. In most cases, if you wish to have services paid for by your health insurance plan, the psychologist must have a license, signifies a standard of education and training.

While a clinical psychologist is required to hold a license to offer mental health services to the public, a psychotherapist does not, necessarily. have to. In Connecticut, the title “psychologist” protected by law. The term psychotherapist is not. Nearly anyone with a background in the mental health field, a social worker, a counselor, etc. can call themselves as a psychotherapist. There are truly excellent and highly experienced persons with advanced education who are wonderful psychotherapists. If they have a license, e.g. LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), you may be eligible to have your services paid for through health insurance. Again, questions about training and expertise apply.

You should make a careful and informed decision before entering into a psychotherapeutic relationship.