The Psychologist: Healing with Words and Actions

The Psychologist: Healing with Words and Actions


Psychologists and psychiatrists are often confused for one another, as there titles sound similar and they seek to achieve the same results for their patients. While they share the desire for the same outcome, they differ in their methods and training. We’ll be exploring what goes in to training the world-class psychologists here at Columbia Wellness, and we’ll go over psychiatrists in our next blog post.


What is Psychology? Psychology is the study of the human mind, is behaviors, structure, thoughts, and emotions through the lens of consciousness. Psychology seeks to understand why people act the way they do in given situations, both consciously and subconsciously. Through this understanding, a model is built that can be used to diagnose irregularities in a patient’s psyche. Psychologists look for over expressed defensive mechanisms, such as splitting which creates binary black-and-white thinking in patients, as clues to help them understand their patient’s unique trauma and pain. In a manner similar to a forensic analyst, psychologists will gather facts and recreate the scenarios that caused their patients to develop unhealthy defensive behaviors to keep them safe. A key thing to understand is that every person uses coping mechanisms to keep themselves safe and sane, but issues arise when those mechanisms become over developed or uncontrollably reflexive. Shutting out a thought that makes you unhappy is normal, but when it becomes your mind’s innate response to any stimuli that it doesn’t enjoy you end up with someone who becomes convinced in their own indomitable perfection. Treating these entrenched behaviors can be incredibly difficult, and it requires both a deft touch and patience; psychologists spend years honing their craft before they pursue their craft in earnest.


A psychologist must earn a PhD or Doctorate degree in Psychology or a similar degree, which can involve six years of schooling or more. After obtaining their degree, prospective psychologists then go through a one or two-year internship where they are guided through the field by their experienced colleagues. All of this training helps the psychologist work on their ability to diagnose complex mental traumas from sessions with those under their care; it provides them with invaluable time spent honing their bedside manner, so they can establish trusting relationships with their patients; and allows them to come out with nearly a decade of experience before they begin to work on their own.


Once they start seeing a patient, a psychologist works on creating different regimes of thoughts and behavior for their client to use. In this way, the patient gets improves their mental state by altering their life. These regimes are tailored to fit individual patients, though they involve time-tested treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Group Talk Sessions. Psychologists work to create trusting relationships with their patients, because the psychologist-patient relationship is a partnership that requires both parties to work together. Psychologists can guide those under their care and direct them how to improve their lives, but they can’t force them to act. When both work together however, great progress can be made towards healing lifelong wounds and creating new, beneficial patterns of behavior that not only improve a patient’s livelihood but help to reduce the risk of a relapse.


Michelle Held