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What is A Psychologist?
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What is a Psychologist?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts defines a psychologist as a professional who is licensed by the Board of Registration of Psychologists.  Achieving licensure requires that the professional has engaged in rigorous training by completing a doctoral program in psychology and earning a Ph.D., (Doctor of Philosophy), Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology), or an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education); participating in supervised professional employment or practice; and passing two written exams and/or an oral exam.


What do Psychologists do?

The rigorous training received by psychologists and psychology professionals allows them to provide a range of services in diverse settings or work environments. For example, you will usually find psychologists:

-          Providing psychotherapy in private practice, group practice, community health centers/clinics, or in schools.

-          Conducting psychological assessments for children, individuals, education, and the courts.

-          Consulting to non-profits, businesses, media outlets, courts, and other organizations.

-          Conducting program planning and evaluations for human services, schools, and organizations.

-          Conducting research and teaching and training at universities and hospitals.

-          Serving as administrators in healthcare and human service organizations.


Psychologists do not prescribe medications.  Psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and other medical providers can discuss and prescribe medications for psychological conditions, but psychologists do not provide medication treatments.  (Some specially trained and licensed psychologists in Illinois, New Mexico, and Louisiana can prescribe psychotropic medications).


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy helps people of all ages live more effective, healthy, and happy lives. People seek therapy for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to): relationship difficulties, challenging life events, parenting concerns, grief/loss, anxiety, depression and other difficulties with mood, life transitions and much more. Psychotherapy may be effective alone or in addition to medication to address a variety of issues.  Therapy goals can include changing behavior, understanding feelings, improving relationships, and other goals that you identify. Psychotherapy provides a non-judgmental and supportive space to collaboratively work toward your goals.

Psychotherapy can focus on the individual as well as on couples, families, and groups. Psychologists use a variety of psychotherapy approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Relational Therapy, Psychodynamic, Family Systems and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), among others.  It is important to have a conversation with your provider about your needs and to identify the approach(es) that might be most helpful to you.  Your psychologist may combine elements from several styles of psychotherapy. In fact, most therapists do not tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client’s needs. The main thing to know is whether your psychologist has expertise in the area you need help with and whether your psychologist feels he or she can help you.


To find a psychologist that matches your needs and preferences, click here, or call the MPA office at (781) 263-0080.


Additional Resources:

Substance Abuse Helpline: for providers and organizations that provide services to address substance abuse/dependence concerns: or 1-800-327-5050.

Substance Abuse Recovery: support and information about substance abuse recovery:

Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255; Available languages: English and Spanish. You can also visit the website:

Mental Health Facts in America:

Mental Health Facts for Children & Teens:

To learn more about psychotherapy, please visit:
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