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Masters Level Clinician vs Psychologist
An_190067 posted:
I am looking to talk to someone to help me work some issues through. I am trying to understand the difference between selecting between a Masters Level Clinician vs Psychologist. From what I have read I guess the biggest difference would be that a Psychologist would be able to prescribe medication. I am not big on taking meds but also want to really get to the bottom of my issues and finally resolve them.
Thanks in advance for your help/advice
onthejourney responded:
I could be wrong here, as I am searching for the right therapist, too, but I think only a psychiatrist, not psychologist can prescribe medication. I just made an appt. with a psychologist who has a phD, but I'll have to see the psychiatrist if it's determined I need meds.
Godspackage responded:
The difference is education. A Psychologist is a doctor and a Master Level Clinician is a therapist without a doctorate. Both would be able to provide talk therapy. Your best bet is to find a provider with the specialty you are looking for such as marriage, anxiety, etc. A Pyschiatrist would be able to prescribe medication as well as a Psychiatric Nurse Practioner. Those visits consist of 1 longer appt to assess and shorter followup appts for medication management only.

If you are working you may want to check with your employer to inquire about an employee assistance program which offeres therapy at usually no charge. It is completely confidential.
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
Allow me to help with this. The difference between the two is one of education and training, plus some states do not license anyone with a master's degree and you must have a Ph.D. (psychologist) to sit for the licensing exam and be licensed. Also, someone cannot call themselves a psychologist without being licensed in most states.

A psychiatrist is an MD with a residency in psychiatry and they prescribe medication. In some states people with Ph.D. degrees (psychologists) can prescribe and some have taken additional training to become a CNS (clinical nurse specialist) in order to get prescribing privileges.

So, basically what you want to do is to find out what this person's license is, where they trained and what type of therapy they offer. See my website's Therapy page ( ) for some additional help on this. You can check anyone's license in any state by going to that state's licensing website.
Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to onthejourney's response:
Please see my website's THERAPY page for information on this. A Ph.D. doesn't really tell you that the person is licensed as a psychologist.

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