What does an Anxiety Psychologist do?

B. Miller

An anxiety psychologist is a psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders, which include, but are not limited to panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and specific phobias. Though "anxiety psychologist" is not a term that is often used, many general psychologists do have backgrounds in treating various psychological problems related to anxiety. Keep in mind that a psychologist differs in some important ways from a psychiatrist, however.

Anxiety psychologists help patients deal with anxieties.
Anxiety psychologists help patients deal with anxieties.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in treating mental illness, often with an underlying biological, or otherwise medical cause. A psychiatrist is able to prescribe medication to patients. A psychologist, by contrast, is not a medical doctor, and cannot prescribe medication, but rather uses individual or group therapy, counseling, and behavioral modification techniques to treat patients. While this is clearly an oversimplification of the two fields, it is helpful to remember these differences when seeking treatment. In general, an appointment with a psychiatrist will require a referral from a general physician, while a psychologist does not.

An anxiety psychologist helps people to deal with phobias, such as the fear of heights.
An anxiety psychologist helps people to deal with phobias, such as the fear of heights.

An anxiety psychologist will likely see a number of patients on any given day. He or she might work in a group with other psychologists, own his own practice, or work in another setting such as a school, hospital, or rehabilitation facility. When first meeting with a patient, an anxiety psychologist will discuss the reasons for the visit, and what the patient hopes to gain from visiting a psychologist, ask some specific questions, and may administer some psychological tests.

An anxiety pyschologist may treat patients who experience panic attacks.
An anxiety pyschologist may treat patients who experience panic attacks.

There are a number of reasons to visit an anxiety psychologist, but the most prominent one is obviously when anxiety begins to become overwhelming and interferes with everyday life. Though anxiety as a reaction to stress is a normal part of life, it can become debilitating, and that is when it is time to seek help. The anxiety psychologist will offer specific therapy techniques unique to your situation, to help you learn to deal with the anxiety, and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.

To become a psychologist, both a Bachelor's and Master's degree are required. From there, some choose to get a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. These degrees lead to different career paths, depending on your interests, and should be carefully researched. Finally, to work as a practicing psychologist, it is necessary to become licensed in your state. A career in psychology is a lucrative and rewarding one, and it is likely that you will not have much difficulty finding a job after graduation.

Anxiety is characterized by heart palpitations and intense feelings of worry.
Anxiety is characterized by heart palpitations and intense feelings of worry.

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