What is the difference between psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health workers?
Clients sometimes ask what is the difference between psychologists and other mental health workers. The primary difference is in the level of training and education that psychologists undertake. Psychologists typically complete at least ten years of undergraduate and graduate level studies and achieve a doctoral degree. Prior to working independently, psychologists are also required to complete internship and supervised practice, which means they train for at least 3,000 hours under the direct supervision of another psychologist. Also, in the province of Ontario, psychologists' competence is evaluated through stringent, professional, written examinations, as well as through oral examination by a panel of members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. In short, psychologists, like psychiatrists and physicians, are required to demonstrate that they have the necessary training, knowledge, and skills required to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health. This is why, unlike other mental health workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians are permitted by law to diagnose mental health problems.