Is clinical psychology the same as therapy or counseling?
Many people use the terms clinical psychologist, therapist, and counselor interchangeably. Although they work in similar settings, the educational requirements and clinical training are more extensive for clinical psychologists. In Missouri, clinical psychologists must obtain their doctoral degree. Therapists and counselors typically obtain master's degrees. The clinical psychology doctoral curriculum includes course work on: ethics, cognitive aspects of behavior, biological aspects of behavior, social-affective aspects of behavior, developmental psychology, diversity and multicultural issues, personality assessment, psychological assessment, psychopathology, research methods, statistics, and theories of psychotherapy, as well as elective coursework. Students typically receive 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience prior to entering a full-time, year long internship. The internship is required to complete the doctoral degree, and provides an additional 1500 to 2000 hours of supervised clinical training. Most clinical psychology doctoral programs take 5 to 7 years to complete, with licensure requirements specifying an additional 1 to 2 year post-doctoral experience. Post-licensure, clinical psychologists are required to obtain 40 continuing education credits per 2 year period to maintain their active status.