What is a Registered Psychologist?

A registered psychologist is a person with a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in psychology and the additional specialization in the clinical branch of psychology. This requires:

  • three or four years of university study in order to obtain a B.A. or B.A. Honours degree
  • two to three years of university study to obtain a Masters Degree in Psychology
  • four or more years of study and research to obtain the Ph.D. degree
  • a one to two year internship in clinical psychology

In total, 10 to 12 years of study are typically required to complete Ph.D. training. In Manitoba, practicing registered psychologists must be registered with the Psychological Association of Manitoba.

What is the difference between a Registered Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Registered psychologists and psychiatrists often work together in similar settings and see people with similar problems – anxiety and depression for example. They commonly cooperate in providing treatment to people who may need a range of different treatments. The training of psychiatrists and psychologists is usually quite different, however.

A registered psychologist receives 10 to 12 years of university and clinic training focused on understanding human behaviour and psychological assessment and treatment of a wide range of problems. The training focuses on structured assessment methods and approaches to treatment that involve problem solving and learning. Much of the training of psychologists goes on in community programs and clinics. There is a strong emphasis on research and understanding the scientific method. If a client of a psychologist requires medication or some other form of medical assessment or treatment, the psychologist may arrange to consult with the client’s family doctor or with an appropriate medical specialist (including a psychiatrist when appropriate).

A psychiatrist has at least two or three years of general university training (often emphasizing science courses) and then goes on to complete a four year medical degree (M.D.). Following this there are four years of training in psychiatry as a medical specialty. Much of the training of psychiatrists goes on in hospitals with a good deal of experience in inpatient psychiatric units including the treatment of those with severe impairment. The training includes a strong emphasis on medication treatments for a wide variety of mental health problems. There is also training in psychological treatments with the types of treatments emphasized varying from program to program. If a psychiatrist sees a patient who requires assessment or treatment by a psychologist, the psychiatrist may arrange to consult with a psychologist who provides that service.

What are the benefits and risks of receiving therapy?

Benefits of Therapy

The benefits of participating in therapy and developing strategies to cope with everyday problems include:

  • feeling less distressed or upset
  • improved quality of life
  • enhanced ability to cope with life’s challenges
  • improved self-confidence and self-esteem

Risks of Therapy

The risks of therapy include:

  • learning new skills and strategies to cope with problems may result in temporary increases in symptoms (e.g., anxiety may increase as you begin to deal with situations you have been avoiding)
  • other aspects of your life (e.g., other relationships) may change as you develop new skills and strategies. For example, others in your life may have some difficulty adjusting to the “new” you.