What is a Psychologist?

A Psychologist is an expert in human behaviour and trained to explore the reasons behind why we think, feel, behave and react the way we do. After years of studying at an undergraduate and post-graduate level, with ongoing professional supervision, a Psychologist is equipped to help a patient cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems. Essentially, all humans share more similarities than differences, but a psychologist will explore behaviours within a socio-cultural context to gain a better understanding of how behaviours have developed in a unique way.

A psychologist will work with whatever a patient brings to the table, and if the Psychologist does not have the skill-set for you, they may suggest a referral elsewhere, so that you can receive the right type of therapy.

Psychologists use an assortment of evidence-based treatments to help people improve their lives, most commonly referred to as Therapy. There are many different styles of therapy, including (but not limited to); Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Cognitive-Behavioural, and Interpersonal. Many use a combination of these styles to best service a patient’s specific needs.

For some conditions a combination of medication and therapy works best, therefore a Psychologist will work alongside a Psychiatrist. There are some fundamental differences between the two disciplines. For instance; a Psychologist does not have a medical degree and cannot prescribe medication.

Why do people see Psychologists?

There are many reasons for accessing a Psychologist for counselling/therapy. When issues begin to affect our daily life, we may seek out a professional to work through these problems so that we can move forward. By addressing these difficulties we can improve our relationships and life in general. A psychologist can help with equipping you with the skills required to feel better about yourself and to help you change the patterns of behaviour that are no longer working for you.

Some reasons for seeing a Psychologist may include (and certainly not limited to);

  • Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health diagnoses
  • Stress Management, life-work-study balance, health maintenance
  • Abuse issues (emotional, sexual, financial)
  • Grief and loss
  • Eating and weight control
  • Becoming better parents and parenting skills
  • Dealing with pregnancy and being a new Mother
  • Suicide and self-harm, Emotion regulation (eg: anger management)
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Pain management
  • Personal growth
  • Sport and Performance Enhancement
  • Relocation and Transition issues, Job stress, burnout, vocation direction
  • Supervision

Just like choosing a GP, a dentist or a health care provider, it is important to ascertain whether the Psychologist is the right fit for you and your needs. It might be a case of trial and error before you find the right Psychologist, but the exploration can be invaluable and lead to a positive therapeutic experience.