How Do I Become a Trauma Psychologist?

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Reader’s Question

If I wanted to become a psychologist specializing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder what degree would I need to obtain to do so?

Psychologist’s Reply

In general in the U.S. (the details of this process may vary in other countries), in order to become a psychologist you need to obtain a graduate doctoral degree in psychology — either a PsyD (doctor of psychology) or PhD (doctor of philosophy in psychology). Typically, in order to apply for and attend a doctoral program, you need to have completed a four-year undergraduate bachelor degree program, preferably in psychology or some other related field. Some doctoral programs also prefer or even require completion of a graduate master’s degree in psychology or related field. Upon completing your doctoral course of study, there are typically additional predoctoral internship and postdoctoral supervision, training and licensing requirements that vary depending on your area of study and the geographic location in which you wish to practice.

For a specific interest in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, the American Psychological Association’s Division 56, Trauma Psychology, is a great resource for information on all aspects of trauma related psychology, including a list of graduate and undergraduate degree programs with an emphasis in trauma psychology and training.

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