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Do you know your therapist? No, no, Nah! We aren’t talking about the name or the address or their likes or dislikes; what we are really concerned about what they practice. Mental Health Professionals are divided into 3 categories in India based on their qualifications. You may visit a psychologist or a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist based on your issue/condition.
Qualifications and Standards of Practice defined by RCI and NCS for Psychologist/Counselor and a Clinical Psychologist:
- A person with a BA/BSc + MA/MSc in psychology/clinical psychology/counselling psychology can practice as a psychologist. Also, as per National Career Service, a person with a Bachelor’s(psychology) + diploma in counselling psychology + 1 year of experience can be considered as a counsellor.
- Only a person with a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology recognized by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), from time to time, obtained from an RCI approved institution and granted by a university recognized by the University Grant Commission as per Sections 11 and 12 of RCI Act (1992) and registration in Central Rehabilitation Register(CRR) as per Section 13 of RCI Act (1992) can practice as a clinical psychologist.
- A psychiatrist has to complete MBBS and then can opt for the following Diploma/Specialization courses: Diploma in Psychological Medicine (DPM)/Doctor of Medicine (MD)/Diplomate of National Board (DNB)/Doctor of Medicine (DM)/DM (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)/DM (Addiction Medicine).
Difference between a psychologist/clinical psychologist/psychiatrist:
- A psychologist can take clients with vocational, adjustment, personal problems and other problems but not anyone with a clinical disorder. He/she can do an assessment (aptitude, interest, etc) and give therapy and can facilitate socio-emotional and cognitive development.
- A clinical psychologist can do assessment, diagnosis, and provide treatment as well as consultation. However, it is mandatory for the clinical psychologist to have an RCI license registered on his name. He/she can also provide therapy, teach and supervise the sessions of psychologists and interns.
- A psychiatrist can prescribe medicines, do diagnosis and provide therapy for treatment.
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