What does a psychologist do?

Singapore Psychologist

Most psychologists in Singapore provide assessments and therapy to clients. They also conduct psychological research or administer psychological tests to individuals or groups. 

Their other roles include facilitating organisational or social changes. The primary goal for psychologists is to understand the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and emotions of their clients. There are many different forms of therapy and psychologists will vary the style they use according to the needs of their client.

Clinical psychologists help their clients manage situational problems, personal conflicts and long-term conditions such as depression or anxiety. They speak to their clients, run diagnostic tests and provide psychotherapy. The diagnostic tests include evaluations of intellectual skills, personality traits and cognitive abilities. If deemed necessary, they can refer clients to psychiatrists.

What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?

Psychologists are focused on treating and preventing mental problems or disorders. These disorders include personality disorders and major depressive disorders. The extent of these mental disorders range from mild to serious conditions. For example, psychologists can help treat patients with severe depression or schizophrenia. The treatment plans of psychologists tend to involve emotional and social techniques as these techniques work best to address complex mental health conditions.

However, counsellors are focused on helping their clients cope with normal life problems that arise from normal developmental changes. Counsellors also work with clients to create short-term, workable plans to help break out of undesirable behaviours and thoughts.

Some of the life problems counsellors can help with are:

  • coping with stressful life situations (eg career or educational changes);
  • issues at home, work, traumatic events, school, work or daily stressors;
  • dealing with major life transitions; and
  • mild mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

What is psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is used to help people who are experiencing a wide variety of emotional difficulties or mental illnesses. By using psychotherapy, a counsellor or psychologist can help control troubling thoughts or behaviours to help their client function at their best capabilities. They are several types of psychotherapy and these are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IT), psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalysis, supportive therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy. 

These multiple forms of psychotherapy can be combined together if a therapist feels that their client would benefit from it. Ultimately, psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment that you and your therapist engage in by communicating openly in a supportive environment to change thought or behaviour patterns.

You could benefit from psychotherapy if:

  • your problems do not seem to get better even when you or your loved ones have tried helping;
  • you have difficulty concentrating on daily tasks;
  • you engage in behaviour that is harmful to yourself or others (eg substance abuse or aggressive behaviour);
  • you feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness or sadness;
  • you worry excessively or are constantly on edge;
  • you expect the worse out of every situation;

You can find our psychologists (and professional counsellors) listed on this link