NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Distress, Version 1.2017
How distressed are you?
Experts in distress
Psychologists are also mental health professionals.
Most psychologists have a doctoral degree in
psychology. The two doctoral degrees that can
be earned are a PhD and PsyD in psychology.
All psychologists complete an internship. Some
psychologists pursue more training in a post-doctoral
fellowship, obtain board certification, or both.
There are different fields of psychology. Clinical
psychologists, counseling psychologists, health
psychologists, neuropsychologists, and school
psychologists are some of the types of psychologists
that provide clinical services. A state license is
required to provide clinical services.
Psychologists provide a range of services. Examples
include in-depth mental health and neurocognitive
assessments. Many also provide psychotherapy.
Depending on their training, psychologists provide
treatment for the following:
Health issues (eg, pain, weight, sleep, sex,
Cognitive problems (eg, dementia, chemo
Mood and anxiety problems (eg, depression,
Substance use (eg, drugs, alcohol, smoking)
Relationship issues (eg, caregiving strains,
Read Part 3 to learn about mental health services.
In some states, psychologists can prescribe
medications after obtaining the proper education,
training, and state certification.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in
mental health. They first have to obtain either an MD
or DO degree. Afterward, they obtain a state license
to practice and complete a 4-year residency program
in psychiatry. Some become board certified, obtain
more training, or both.
Psychiatrists assess the physical and mental aspects
of mental health. They can order lab tests as well
as give psychological tests. Their training enables
them to understand relationships between medical
processes and psychological issues (eg, genetics,
Psychiatrists provide different types of treatment.
They are experts in prescribing psychiatric
medicines. Depending on their training, they may
conduct neurocognitive assessments and provide
psychotherapy. Read Part 3 to learn more about
mental health services provided by psychiatrists.