PFOTO: Nik Shuliahin
Text: Alejandra Misiolek
When you decide to seek help in mental health, you have already made a difficult decision. But now you might have to face another one: How to choose a suitable professional?
When you look for the best psychologists on the internet you may easily stumble on several rankings that will tell you who the best professionals in Spain or in your city are. Unfortunately, the only requirement to appear in such rankings or directories is to pay a monthly fee and there are no official rankings based on some reliable criteria.
The goal of this post is to give you answers to the questions you may have to help you make a more conscious decision.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist?
A psychologist is a person that studied psychology and has a general knowledge in the field of clinical psychology, work psychology, cognitive sciences, social processes, etc.
A psychotherapist/in the process of certification is a psychologist or physician who after the degree in psychology or medicine received training in the techniques of psychotherapy and uses them to help people deal with psychological distress.
A certified psychotherapist is a psychotherapist accredited by one of the official institutions such as FEAP or EFPA Euro-Psy. To obtain such certification, it is necessary to meet a series of requirements such as a complete training, personal psychotherapy, and supervision. It normally takes a psychotherapist about 4 years to complete the training and obtain such certification.
- What is the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychoanalyst?
There are different schools of psychotherapy in which one can be trained. Among the most classic ones there is psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy; humanistic psychotherapy, systemic psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Therefore, a psychoanalyst is a psychotherapist who was trained in the psychoanalytic approach.
- Who is a clinical psychologist?
In Spain to become a clinical psychologist it is necessary to do an exam called PIR to get into a 4-year residency program in public mental health after which the psychologist obtains the title of clinical psychologists and in specialized in diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. In 2014 a General Health Psychologist title was introduced for those psychologists who chose to work in private mental health. It is necessary to do a Master in General Health Psychology after which the psychologists obtains the rights to diagnose and treat disorders. It is an equivalent to Clinical Psychologist Title in private practice.
- What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
A psychiatrist is a person that studied medicine and specialized in psychiatry and can prescribe medication and diagnose mental disorders. In Spain, to prescribe medication, it is necessary to be a physician and any physician can prescribe medication for psychiatric disorders. A psychiatrist can also become a psychotherapist with the same 4-year training.
- What is the function of COP in Spain?
COP or Colegio Oficial de Psicología is a public institution. In order to officially practice as a psychologist in Spain every psychologist should be licensed by this institution. The possession of the COP´s official number certifies the authenticity of the degree in Psychology.
I hope to have cleared up the confusion around the official regulation of the profession of psychologist in Spain. We believe that patients have the right to know what is there behind the labels that describe the mental health specialist so that they can choose well according to their needs.
Do you have any more questions that you would like us to clarify? Contact us and we will be happy to answer.