How Does a Psychoanalyst Differ From a Psychologist?

When hearing terms like psychoanalyzing and psychology, many wonder how a psychoanalyst differs from a psychologist. Although the theories of psychoanalysis have strongly influenced the practice of psychology, they are two separate things with separate roots. Psychoanalysis and psychology are two different fields, so it makes sense that the two professionals doing the work would also be different. There are also different educational requirements for each of these professionals. Here is some info on how psychoanalysts differ from psychologists.

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What is Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is a therapy and psychological theory used to treat mental and emotional disorders by investigating conscious and unconscious thoughts of both the past and present. It also aims at bringing past conflicts or repressed fears from our conscious into our conscious minds using different techniques such as free association, dream interpretation or hypnosis, among others.

Many believe that while psychoanalysts can be psychologists, psychologists cannot be psychoanalysts. Psychology Today reports that, at one time, psychoanalysis was used when patients didn’t respond to traditional psychology and medical treatments. At one time, Students who have met all the education and training requirements necessary to become psychoanalysts may work in several fields dealing with human behavior and development. These may include:

  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Medical Doctors
  • Mental Health Counselors

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of an individual’s mind and behavior. It’s also a multifaceted and vast field that included many sub-fields of study such as social behavior, human development, health, sports, clinical and cognitive processes. Psychology is a science that studies the brain to discover why a person does what he or she does or feels as he or she does. For instance, if a person is dealing with low self-confidence, psychologists will try to determine why and help the person find ways to build his or her confidence. With training and education, psychologists can work in various areas of psychology, including the following.

  • Educational psychologists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Occupational psychologists
  • Health psychologists
  • Counseling psychologists

How Psychoanalysts Differ From Psychologists

We often watch people on television and see the person visiting a counselor and walking out of the counselor’s office with a prescription for some powerful drug. Apparently, this patient did not see a psychologist or a psychoanalyst, but rather saw a psychiatrist because neither psychoanalysts nor psychologists prescribe medication. Another area where psychoanalysts and psychologists are similar is that they both deal with emotional issues rather than clinical ones.

While they both deal with a patient’s emotional issues, their treatment plan is very different. Psychologists will generally listen to a patient and let the patient talk things out that are bothering them, help them learn how why they feel the way they do and help them change their way of thinking. They deal with the conscious thoughts of today.

Following theories set by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysts believe that mental and emotional issues people suffer as adults stem from their childhood. Psychoanalysts have the patient search through subconscious memories of the past to determine the source of their current problems. Psychologists may see their patients once a week, while psychoanalysts often see their patients several times a week.

With so many events taking place in society today, more people than ever before are seeking the assistance of psychologists, psychoanalysts, and similar medical doctors. Getting treatment early can often be the difference in a patient’s recovery and prevent a small problem from developing into a large problem. This is also why it’s important to know how a psychoanalyst differs from a psychologist.

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