Consumer Information

What You Should Know About Psychologists and Their Services

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is a health care professional who diagnoses and treats mental, nervous, emotional, and behavioral disorders and ailments. Psychologists' practices also include industrial/organizational psychology, research, and teaching.

In providing services to individuals, organizations, and the public, psychologists apply principles, methods or procedures of understanding, predicting or influencing behavior.

Who may use the terms "psychologist," "psychological," or "psychology" alone or in combination with other words and phrases?

Only a licensed psychologist or a person working in an "exempt setting" may use these titles and terms. Exempt settings include chartered schools, settings operated by the government, and most colleges and universities. Students who are working in settings as part of their authorized doctoral program may have titles such as "psychologist-in-training" or "psychology intern."

Psychotherapists are not necessarily licensed as psychologists in New York.

What credentials do New York psychologists have?

New York psychologists have earned a doctoral degree in psychology from a program registered or accepted as equivalent by the New York State Education Department. Psychologists with doctoral degrees with the letters Ph.D., Psy.D. and Ed.D. all have met the same educational requirements.

In addition, New York psychologists have completed two years of supervised experience, including one year after the doctoral degree. They have also passed a national licensing exam.

How do I locate a psychologist?

Other consumers or your health care practitioners may be able to refer you to a psychologist. State and local psychological associations often maintain a list of psychologists who provide a variety of services. Psychologists are also listed in the yellow pages of your phone book. The State Board for Psychology cannot refer you to a psychologist.

What services do New York psychologists offer?

New York psychologists offer services in a variety of areas:

  • Evaluate, counsel and provide psychotherapy for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, nervous, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They provide these services for individuals and groups.
  • Administer and interpret tests of mental abilities and aptitudes, interests, neuropsychological status, personality, emotions, and motivation.
  • Evaluate and develop habilitation plans and treat individuals for addictions, cognitive impairments, and neuropsychological disorders.
  • Provide educational and vocational planning.
  • Perform personnel selection, organizational management and evaluation, and advertising and market research.

What questions should individuals with disabilities ask about accessing services?

Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities.

Do I have a right to access my records?

Yes. You have a right to your records and to have a copy of your records. The psychologist who maintains the records should inform you of the process to obtain the records if you want them.

Psychologists must keep the full and complete record of client evaluation and treatment for six years from the termination of the service or until the client turns 22, whichever is longer.

All psychologists must obtain your consent, or the consent of an authorized person, before releasing your records to anyone, except in circumstances provided for by the law.

Verifying a New York license:

New York psychologists must display a current New York registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional's name, address, and dates of the registration period. Licensed psychologists must reregister every three years to practice in New York. Some professionals also display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates. You may verify an individual's license and registration on this site.

Last Updated: February 1, 2012