OPA FAQ for the Media

What is the Ohio Psychological Association?
Located in Columbus, Ohio, The Ohio Psychological Association is a membership organization of approximately 1,600 Ohio psychologists. Its mission is to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists evaluate physical health and prescribe medication to treat a problem and psychologists identify the behavior or thought problems and provide psychological treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, family interventions or training to sustain lifestyle changes (e.g. heart attack recovery).

What is the difference between a PhD and a PsyD?
PhD means doctor of philosophy while PsyD stands for Doctor of Psychology. PhD students go through a more research based program in school. PsyD programs are more for individuals who want clinical training and have little interest in research.

How do psychologists help Ohio citizens?
Americans understand that health is important, and a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 84% believe that good emotional and mental health is as important as good physical health. We are taught from a young age that there are things we can do to stay in good shape physically, but we don’t hear nearly as much about enhancing our emotional well being. Nearly half the leading causes of death can be attributed to a person’s behavior and lifestyle, and the majority of visits to general practice physicians and pediatricians relate to behavioral or emotional concerns. Psychologists in Ohio, working in a wide range of roles, in a wide variety of professional positions, improve the health and well being of the citizens of Ohio.

What does a psychologist do?
Psychologists evaluate and treat individuals who are suffering, whether from a serious mental illness (such as depression or panic attacks), a developmental disorder (such as autism), a serious physical disease (such as breast cancer), or the life stresses associated with losing a job or the death of a loved one. They help whole families as individual family members struggle with such difficult questions as whether to undergo organ transplantation or what to do about end-of-life care. Psychologists work with other health care professionals to help treat physical illness — psychological interventions can help decrease blood pressure, manage chronic or acute pain or maintain a complex medication regimen. Psychologists work with employers, often “behind the scenes,” to help create work environments that promote good mental health and improve manager-employee communication, employee satisfaction and general productivity. Psychologists work in schools to decrease behavioral problems, improve student performance and enhance self-esteem. Psychologists work in private offices, in hospitals, in businesses, in schools, in the military, and in public systems, always with the goal of improving the lives of Ohioans.

Psychologists often work directly with individual people as patients or clients, but they may also work with parents, spouses, or other concerned relatives or partners to help them to help their loved ones. Psychologists help other professionals to do their jobs more effectively, such as caregivers in nursing homes or physicians and nurses in hospital units managing patients preparing for serious medical procedures. Psychologists educate and train physicians, nurses, teachers, and day-care workers. They work with entire systems and companies. Regardless of the client or patient, without respect to type of setting, psychologists work to improve the lives of Ohio residents.

What do psychologists do in Ohio?
Psychologists touch the lives of Ohio’s citizens every day. For example:

  • A psychologist in Cincinnati helps women undergoing breast cancer treatment learn how to cope with the physical, emotional and lifestyle changes associated with cancer, as well as with the pain of medical treatments.
  • A psychologist in Cleveland trains Red Cross crisis workers to assist with the emotional and psychological distress of victims of trauma and provides support for rescue workers at disaster sites.
  • A psychologist in Columbus provides psychological services to people in nursing homes and gives guidance to staff on how to best care for them with dignity and respect.
  • A psychologist in Akron teaches cognitive and behavioral techniques to help people suffering from panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors to regain control of their lives.
  • A psychologist in Cincinnati runs programs to help obese children lose weight and live more healthy lives.
  • A psychologist in Lima helps people quit smoking, which reduces medical illness and extends life.
  • A psychologist in Cleveland provides evaluation and intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism, some as young as 1 year of age.
  • A psychologist in Westerville helps employees of a large corporation manage stress more effectively and trains managers regarding effective handling of personnel situations and staff conflict.
  • A psychologist in Springfield helps college students deal with the stresses that arise in making the transition from living at home to living away, and helps them become successful students, and responsible and independent adults.
  • A psychologist in Columbus educates professionals about the issues that affect people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender in order to reduce stereotypes and hate crimes in Ohio.

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