A psychologist is a professional who evaluates and studies behavior and mental processes (see also psychology). In order to become a psychologist, a person must complete either a master's degree or a doctorate degree, depending on the country in which they live. This definition of a psychologist is non-exclusive; in most jurisdictions, members of other professions (such as counselors and psychiatrists) can also evaluate, diagnose, treat, and study mental processes. There are many types of psychologists, as is reflected by the 56 divisions of the American Psychological Association (APA). Some of the major categories include clinical, counseling, and educational psychologists, who work with persons in a variety of therapeutic contexts; industrial, organizational and community psychologists, who apply psychological research, theories and techniques to "real-world" problems, questions and issues in business, industry, social benefit organizations, and government; and also academics, who conduct psychological research or teach psychology in a college or university.
Psychologists are generally described as "applied" or "research-orientated." The common terms used to describe this central division in psychology are "scientists" or "scholars", those who conduct research, and "practitioners" or "professionals", those who apply psychological knowledge. The training models endorsed by the APA require that applied psychologists be trained as both researchers and practitioners, and that they possess advanced degrees.
People often think of the discipline as involving clinical or counseling psychology. While counseling and psychotherapy are common activities for psychologists, these applied fields are just one branch in the larger domain of psychology.
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