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How do I Become an Anxiety Psychologist?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 June 2018
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The term anxiety psychologist is not a licensed term, any more than is the term child psychologist. An anxiety psychologist could be any psychologist who specializes in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, or other areas like crisis intervention, trauma disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. It should be noted, however, that all psychologists who maintain clinical practice are licensed to treat people with varying forms of anxiety, and that means that any person who gets a psychology degree has become an anxiety psychologist.

What this means for the person who wishes to become an anxiety psychologist, then is that they will need to train as a psychologist. This typically begins by getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with strong grades. The next step people will need to take is to apply to graduate school at various psychology departments that offer a Ph.D or Psy.D. The Psy.D might be the better choice because it often emphasizes clinical care over research and may provide more opportunities to practice.

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More important than the type of degree offered are the emphases of the departments at each school. If a student is truly interested in studying or researching methods of treating anxiety, they want a school that has experienced teachers in this regard, and where they can focus a lot of advanced studies on the treatment of anxiety. If someone plans to most work with people with the anxiety disorders, it makes sense to study this matter as much as possible in the graduate setting. This is also sets the groundwork for a person to claim he has become an anxiety psychologist, and has coursework to prove it.

When people have chosen the schools that have departments that can best support studies in treating anxiety, they’ll usually need to apply to them about three a quarters of a year before attendance would begin. People should make their choice based not only on program but likelihood of acceptance, and should probably apply to at least three schools. Once accepted, students will spend two to three years doing academic studies, some time undergoing therapy, might spend some time practicing therapy under supervision, and will likely prepare a dissertation. Usually it takes at least three years to complete requirements, though most students spend at least four years in graduate school.

The work isn’t finished for those people who want to become an anxiety psychologist or any other form. In order to legally practice therapy on their own, most psychologists must complete 1500 hours of counseling patients under supervision. These hours may prove extremely helpful in learning how best to work with those who have anxiety and also in developing the ease, which each counselor must have in order to make patients feel comfortable.

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