What is a psychologist?

Officials with the West Virginia Psychological Association say they want to define a psychologist in the Mountain State the same way the position is defined in 49 other states.

They’re lobbying for legislation at the State House that would require a doctoral degree for future psychologists.

“We want people in West Virginia to have as much access to care as we can provide them and our current title is a problem to be able to do that,” outgoing West Virginia Psychological Association President Jeannie Sperry says.

Right now, doctors with both master’s degrees and doctorates are called and practice as psychologists in West Virginia.

In some cases, though, Sperry says insurance companies will only cover visits to doctoral level psychologists.

As part of the proposed update to the licensing law for psychologists, the title would be limited to those with doctoral degrees in the future and there would be an additional title created for those with master’s degrees. For more on alternative medical treatments that can help you during a crisis we recommend you to read more at the link.

Bill supporters say current practicing psychologists, no matter their education levels, would not be affected because the proposed law includes a grandfather clause.

It also includes a five year long look back period so those entering graduate school now will not have to change course.

“The title is important because it tells you what you’re getting,” incoming West Virginia Psychological Association President Marty Boone said.

“When you go see a physician you assume that the physician followed a certain step in his training.  If you go see a lawyer, you assume has followed certain steps in his training and so on.”

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