What to Consider
There are times in life when we may feel overwhelmed and need help dealing with emotions and problems that we experience as beyond our control. It can be a family situation, a problem in all our relationships or in one particular relationship. It can be a major change or conflict at work. We may have lost someone close to us. We may feel depressed, anxious, or stressed out. We may turn to alcohol or drugs.
There are times of crisis and there are chronic situations when we feel deeply frustrated, dissatisfied with our lives and ourselves for a very long time. One day we may realize that we always end up in the same type of non-productive situations or disappointing relationships. We may feel trapped in repetitive, self-destructive patterns of behavior. We may feel chronically and painfully alone. We may feel haunted by memories of past traumas.
A clinical psychologist is trained to help with all these issues. New York State licensed clinical psychologists acquire this expertise during five to eight years of graduate study in the doctoral program of an accredited university. This formal education includes supervised experience as a student-clinician. In New York State, in order to practice independently, clinical psychologists must hold a doctoral level degree (e.g., Ph.D.), complete one year of supervised postdoctoral clinical work as a psychologist, and pass a state licensing examination.
A psychoanalyst is a psychotherapist who has undergone and successfully completed formal psychoanalytic training: an intensive program comprising theoretical studies, supervised psychoanalysis, and personal analysis. This course of study is in addition to the required course of study to become a licensed clinical psychologist and provides the psychoanalyst with a more comprehensive understanding of the clinical process.