Psychologist are experts in the way people, think, act, react and interact. They are concerned with all aspects of thinking, feeling and behaviour and the motivations which underpin behaviour.
Psychologists work with individuals and their families/whānau, in a range of contexts. These include in health and welfare, education, criminal justice, industrial and organisational contexts, in kaupapa Māori contexts, in academic environments, with sports men and women and academic environments. Many psychologists are in private practice.
To use the title "psychologist" in New Zealand psychologists need to be registered and to have completed postgraduate university qualifications.
During their training psychologists learn a variety of methods to assist people to make the changes that are important in their lives. This may be in relation to family, employment, education, the treatment of mental disorders, performance in sport, managing physical illness and disability, managing interpersonal relationships and other areas of everyday life. They do this by listening and helping people find the best ways to approach the areas they wish to change.
Psychologists in New Zealand have a Code of Ethics which identifies the principles and values to which psychologists should aspire in their practice.
The difference between psychiatrists and psychologists
Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in mental health and often work together. There are sometimes differences in the focus of their work and the way they work.
Psychologists focus their training on the scientific study of mental processes and behaviour and specialise in aspects of psychology in their postgraduate studies.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists use a range of treatments including medication and mainly work with people who are mentally ill.
Psychologists work with people who are mentally healthy and want to find ways of functioning better and also work with those who are mentally ill. Psychologists are unable to prescribe medication but are skilled in using a range of other techniques to assist people to function better.