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8 Things you must understand about Psychologists in India.

Updated: May 15, 2023

An Article by Prashant Das (Psychologist in Gurgaon, India)

What to Expect from this Article.

  1. Who is a Psychologist in India?

  2. What is the fee of a Psychologist in India? 2.1 - Are Psychologists Expensive? 2.2 - How much does a Psychologist cost per hour in India.

  3. Who is the best Psychologist in Indian Metros?

  4. Are Psychology and Psychiatry the same? 4.1 - Who is a better Psychologist or Psychiatrist? 4.2 - Should I see a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist? 4.3 - Is it better to see a Psychiatrist for Anxiety, Depression or other related illnesses.

  5. When Should I see a Psychologist?

  6. What can a Psychologist Diagnose?

  7. How can you tell if someone is mentally unstable?

  8. Are therapists Psychologists?

 

Before I start this article, I would like to address a simple fact about the republic of India. As a Country on its own, withholding different cultures, religions and languages with an approximate population of almost touching 1.4 billion humans, is amongst the developing economies across the globe emerging as one of the superpowers holds a rank of 144 out of 155 countries on the world happiness index (World Happiness Report, 2020). which simply projects as one of the least happy nations to live in.


If I have to quantify to understand for myself, I would rate it on the scale of 1 - 10 where 10 is the happiest and 1 being extremely sad than to my knowledge India stands somewhere between 1.8 to 2.3 out of 10. there is surely more to add to this but at this point, I'm more curious to address the elephant in the room i.e. 08 things you must understand about Psychologists in India. To begin with,


Who is a Psychologist in India?


Psychologists to its core or a basic definition are those who are qualified to understand different behaviours and mental processes via a proper channel of spending time at school completing formal education with degrees in psychology to least a bare minimum of masters or more. In other countries and their provinces/states/counties there are different regulations to hone the respected title of a Psychologist, however, in India -The regulations aren't much defined rather blurred with quite a "thick" line, the only type of psychology that is recognised comes into the category of Clinical i.e. Clinical Psychology and the candidates who chose to pursue their career with the recognition and/or registration of rehabilitation council tends to call themselves as clinical Psychologists and that's really about it as being a Psychologist in India.


As per Government of India - Mental health Act 2017 (Chapter 1 Section 1 verse O) defines mental health as - "Mental health" includes analysis and diagnosis of a person's mental condition mental illness and treatment as well as care and rehabilitation of such person for his mental illness or suspected mental illness;


To add further mental health professional and this is where it gets worse as per Mental Health Act 2017 Government of India ( Chapter 1 Section 1 verse "R" subsection- iii) states clearly - a professional having a post-graduate degree (Ayurveda) in ManoVigyan Avum Manas Roga or a post-graduate degree (Homoeopathy) in Psychiatry or a post-graduate degree (Unani) in Moalijat (Nafasiyatt) or a post-graduate degree (Siddha) in Sirappu Maruthuvam; is considered to be mental health professional also knows as a "Psychologist" so to sum up who is a Psychologist in India. Is a person who fulfils the above requirement. I would rather term it Pseudoscience.


With my experience in Practicing Psychology in India from 2016 onwards as a professional, I personally found there is no legitimate governing body in this country or proper system to acknowledge a mental health professional except for "clinical Psychologist" who are affiliated with rehabilitation council and that too who governs mental health treatment of individuals under the influence of drugs or otherwise.


Most qualifications in the field of Psychology are subjected to the domain of arts instead of acknowledging scientific principles and their origins simply meaning a focus on the theoretical framework rather than applied or practical usage, in addition to a combination of mythology in the Indian context to which making the subject of Psychology less favourable in terms of treatment and understanding of mental health, therefore, that obvious standpoint of India at 144th among 155 countries in the world happiness index.




 

What is the fee of a Psychologist in India?


In my experience practising within the field since 2016, I have noticed a fluctuation in terms of fee structure among psychological practitioners or Psychologists ranging from Rs. 200/- INR for an online session to Rs. 6000/- INR per an (In-person) session. There has been inflation in the country of India where the prices have jumped recklessly to a point of no return and it's still increasing without any justifiable cause - whom to blame. I guess the answer is so obvious (to my guess - poor economic decisions by the responsible authorities) however there has not been an increase in the earning of the middle class in the country, private mental health practitioners aka Psychologists are on the rise to increase their fees as per their place/demand in the market and requirement. However, these specific questions have various dimensions added to them and to understand them fully- we must require to understand the economy distribution amongst its population. To really summerise from the context of an industrial/organisational psychologist - I would define India and its population as categorically into 4 categories i.e. 1. Super Rich, 2. Upper Middle Class, 3. Above the Poverty Line, 4. Below the Poverty Line. And the people who have access in terms of finances and education (knowledge) holds just within the 1 & 2 categories of people. so, to answer are Psychologists Expensive in the country of India - To my absolute knowledge - yes, they are expensive due to the failed system to acknowledge knowledge and distribution of the economy within the people of India. I believe I have answered How much does a Psychologist cost per hour in India, that actually varies from Rs. 200 INR/- to Rs 6000/- INR per session.





 

Who is the best Psychologist in Indian Metros

To name a few, Actually, I cannot - India holds a population approx 1.4 billion humans within its subcontinent. which means there are more humans than the united states of America and Britain combined. That too on the unregulated side. As mentioned above- anyone with a pseudoscience degree can call themselves a mental health practitioner as per the mental health act 2017 published by Government of India and there has been no update on it since then. However, what comes into contrast is there are multiple metropolitan cities across the country and there are legitimate people who are helping others with real mental health trouble but it is really hard to really distinguish between them as there is less to no aspect of comparison in terms of the development of intervention and practice of scientific psychological practices and sharing of ideas within the population in the domain of mental health. Rather its works as menial past theoretical approaches those developed by foreign psychologists. Experimenting with new ways or development of an intervention is so not in fashion.


To my experience and knowledge, people can buy their way out to shine or list over the internet with websites like- Practo, Lyberate etc. where you only require to purchase a plan from them and there you go listed among the top 10 psychologists in India or to any specific city. Also with India being top in providing IT services to the world, one can still buy a cheaper way of to the top through some SEO services. It's not that difficult, all you require is to list on the front page of google with trending keywords.

 


we have written an article on it you can find it here. However, A Psychiatrist has done and studied his/her MBBS degree and the brain as an organ is their speciality. They have an understanding of neural connections circuitries, the understanding of chemical functioning in the brains and how they interplay, they understand various disorders and causes from a medical point of view. They can also prescribe medication to the individuals who are dealing with mental health disorders


(It's my perspective and in my personal experience - A psychiatrist mostly prescribe medication without listening to the trouble deeply just like doctors or general physicians- I'm not saying everyone is like that but most of the psychiatrists works this way)


on the other hand, a general Psychologist cannot prescribe medication as they complete their BA/B.sc - MA/M.sc then PhD in the field to become a Psychologist.


Psychologists belong to different domains such as neurological, clinical, counselling, aviation, business/industrial/ organisational, military etc. Every branch is different with their different challenges, basically, the common stem between all of them is - they understand why an animal or human behave the way they behave and if they behave abnormally from the regular behaviour then how to fix that particular issue from a cognitive standpoint. Who is a better Psychologist or Psychiatrist?


A Psychiatrist has devoted their life to understanding human or animal physiology and later specialises in the treatment of the brain as an organ. with a clear point of spending approx 7 years of medical school, however, on the other hand, a Psychologist works on the cognitive side of things to improve the thought processes of an individual working towards atleast of 4-7 years of university education at the least, if studied through an appropriate school of recognised body.


Both hold equal advantages to the treatment of any mental health illness/disorder and as per the research if an individual is suffering from a particular mental health disorder (as per DSM V) they require both medications as well as cognitive behavioural therapy to cure the trouble.


so to who is better, to simplify both works in an accord with each other to rectify a problem yet, a psychologist is someone who can help with day to day troubles in the areas of counselling, therapy, working on moods, behaviour and thought processes via therapy treatment.


Is it better to see a Psychiatrist for Anxiety, Depression or other related illnesses?


It is better to consult a qualified Psychologist to come up with a diagnosis and if it is treatable via therapy through a change in cognitive behaviour up to a median level then a psychologist would be someone to be consulted upfront yet if the problem is long term and persistent then there must be a requirement of a psychiatrist to intervene to treat the trouble with medication.





When Should I see a Psychologist?


Living in India is obviously a nightmare in terms of living as per the expectations of either work-related issues or family/private life issues along with dealing with ample confusions in the relation to decision making. As per Selbic, we would strongly recommend arranging a meeting with your local psychologist who can help you in growing further in your life both in work as well as private life and help to clear out your thought process to achieve your goals and live your life as per your expectations for a happier future. Arranging a meeting weekly shall be the goal to hold up to a clear mindset.


 

What can a Psychologist Diagnose?


A Psychologist is well versed with mental health disorders as per ICD & DSM and their approximation to judge the extent to which a person might fall under the normal category or disorder oriented cognitive functioning in either of the cases, a psychologist would help to help the person to alleviate the level of stress and try to control the situation.


 

How can you tell if someone is mentally unstable?


If you happen to hold the expertise and/or interest in the areas of mental health via legitimate sources of either reading of consuming material associated with mental health, you shall be able to understand or distinguish between a normal and abnormal functioning in behaviour via that means you shall be able to tell if someone is unstable, however, if you do not have any guidance and knowledge about mental health and purely believing at your gut feeling then the chances are you can be wrong.


 


Are therapists Psychologists?



It varies, a simple difference between a therapist and a psychologist lies within their qualification and training. A therapist could have obtained a diploma or certificate within the area of therapy which comes in handy for example - licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) who is also allowed to practice within a rehab facility in the United States of America however, a psychologist attends a university-level education to achieve the title. yet, Psychologists works in different areas where therapy is not at all required.


All Therapists as not Psychologists and all Psychologists are not therapists.



 

2 Comments


Brian Massey
Brian Massey
Mar 19, 2021

Great article ! Interesting and Informative.

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Prashant Das
Prashant Das
Mar 19, 2021
Replying to

Thank you Brian. I hope you'd like to apply it to your life. And share the info to others and enlighten them with the info :)

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