What is a licensed clinical psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is a professional who holds a university degree in psychology, which typically requires 5 years of study. The coursework includes subjects like personality development, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. Post-degree, they must complete a supervised clinical internship that usually lasts two years. Some psychologists may also complete additional specialized training in areas such as neuropsychology, child psychology, or trauma, psychotherapy.

Difference between a psychotherapist and psychologist

While there is some overlap between the roles of a psychotherapist and a clinical psychologist, they are not interchangeable. A psychotherapist is a broad term that includes professionals trained in a variety of therapeutic methods to help individuals manage mental health issues or cope with life’s challenges. These professionals could be psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or counselors.

On the other hand, a clinical psychologist is a type of psychotherapist who has specifically trained in the science of psychology. They are experts in understanding how the mind works, and they use scientifically validated methods to help people change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Importantly, clinical psychologists also have training in assessing, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of psychological disorders. Many clinical psychologists will use psychotherapy as a part of their practice, but they also have the ability to conduct psychological testing and research.

Difference between a psychologist in the USA and Denmark

Clinical psychologists in Denmark and the USA undergo somewhat similar training but there are significant differences in their practice, largely due to the vastly different healthcare systems and cultural attitudes towards mental health.

In the USA clinical psychologists typically hold a Doctoral degree which takes 5 to 7 years of graduate studies, followed by about two years of supervised clinical internship and state licensing exams. They also often need to engage in continuing education to maintain their license.

In contrast, clinical psychologists in Denmark follow a slightly different path. They first obtain a Master’s degree in psychology, which takes around 5 years, followed by a mandatory 2/3-year postgraduate program if they want to achieve status as a licensed or “autoriseret” psychologist. During those years they gain practical experience under supervision. After successfully completing this program, they can apply for authorization from the Danish Supervisory Board of Psychological Practice. Unlike in the USA, continuing education is not mandatory in Denmark, although many psychologists voluntarily engage in further training and specialization.

Difference in health care system Denmark vs USA

One of the key differences lies in the healthcare systems. In the USA, access to a clinical psychologist often depends on a person’s private health insurance, and the cost can be prohibitive for many. On the other hand, in Denmark, psychological services are partially covered by the national health insurance system, making it more accessible to the general population.

Finally, cultural attitudes towards mental health also play a part. While mental health is becoming less stigmatized in both countries, the USA has a more established culture of seeking therapy for a range of issues, from mental health disorders to life transitions and personal development. In Denmark, while therapy is also common, it might be more typically sought for serious mental health conditions, and there can be more focus on preventative care and mental health in the community.