Psychologists can be seen as practicing within two general categories of psychology: applied psychology which includes “practitioners” or “professionals”, and research-orientated psychology which includes “scientists”, or “scholars”. The training models endorsed by the American Psychological Association (APA) require that applied psychologists be trained as both researchers and practitioners, and that they possess advanced degrees.
Within the two main categories are many further types of psychologists as reflected by the 56 professional classifications recognized by the APA, including clinical, counseling, and educational psychologists. Such professionals work with persons in a variety of therapeutic contexts. People often think of the discipline as involving only such clinical or counseling psychologists. While counseling and psychotherapy are common activities for psychologists, these applied fields are just two branches in the larger domain of psychology. There are other classifications such as industrial, organizational and community psychologists, whose professionals mainly apply psychological research, theories, and techniques to “real-world” problems of business, industry, social benefit organizations, government, and academia.
In practice, clinical and counseling psychologists might work with individuals, couples, families, or groups in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health organizations, schools, businesses, and non-profit agencies.Most clinical and counseling who engage in research and teaching do so within a college or university setting. Clinical and counseling psychologists may also choose to specialize in a particular field. Common areas of specialization, some of which can earn board certification, include
Although clinical and counseling psychologists and psychiatrists share the same fundamental aim—the alleviation of mental distress—their training, outlook, and methodologies are often different. Perhaps the most significant difference is that psychiatrists are licensed physicians, and, as such, psychiatrists are apt to use the medical model to assess mental health problems and to also employ psychotropic medications as a method of addressing mental health problems.