Letter: Pending retirements leave room for new psychologists

To the editor:

A clinical psychologist, I am writing to endorse Dr. Paul Latimer’s Feb. 11 column in the Capital News: Psychiatry: Difficult but Rewarding, and to expand on it. 

There is a lot of overlap between what we psychiatrists and psychologists do but there are distinct differences as well.  Psychologists have comparable amounts of university training but spend more time learning how to evaluate people using psychological tests, and to treat people using specifically psychological nonmedical, strategies. 

One of the main differences between psychiatry and psychology is that psychiatrists prescribe medication and psychologists, while seeing a role for medication in many cases, don’t. 

Psychology, along with psychiatry and all the other mental health professions, provides an opportunity to make significant differences in people’s lives, and to meet a wide variety of people across all spectrums of life. 

To be sure, psychological practice can be mentally and emotionally challenging but, on the other hand, many of us enjoy flexible work schedules, and no two days are even remotely the same. 

With about half of all psychologists in B.C. scheduled to retire in the next decade there is considerable room for new entrants into the profession, whether as clinicians, professors or researchers. Psychology is one of the most popular courses in high school and university, and it may be hoped that more young adults—those with compassion and curiosity—will consider pursuing careers in mental health. 

The need will remain strong for many years to come.

Gary W. Lea,



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