People seek out Psychologists for many reasons. Some may have an everyday problem that they need to talk about, while others find it difficult to go about their normal daily activities and realise that they need professional help. Some persons may choose to talk to a Psychologist because their job or school recommended it and others may be required by the court. Whatever your reason, qualified Psychologists are available in Trinidad and Tobago to help you, but choosing the right Psychologist, that is, someone who is professional, ethical, appropriately qualified and trustworthy, is imperative to your successful treatment and a pleasant experience. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Psychologists:
How Do I Identify A Psychologist?
A Psychologist who is qualified to administer Psychotherapy or Counselling will have a Master’s level and above qualification in Psychology (e.g. MA Counselling, MSc Clinical Psychology, PsyD Clinical Psychology). They would also have received professional supervised training in helping persons to deal with their everyday issues and mental health problems. A person who has only a Bachelor’s degree qualification in Psychology should not refer to themselves as a Psychologist.
Other Psychologists such as Social Psychologists or Industrial/Organisational Psychologists may work in research or organisational settings but do not see clients or offer counselling or psychotherapy. Some other professions may offer therapy and some persons may acquire certification in providing therapy but their training is different to that of Psychologists.
How Do I Know If I Need To See A Psychologist?
Everyone at some point in their life can benefit from seeing a Psychologist. Despite some myths, you do not need to be ‘crazy’ or ‘desperate’ to see a Psychologist. Psychologists work with all people (children, adults, couples, families and groups) to help them cope with a wide range of emotional problems or mental health issues (e.g. relationship issues, divorce, grief, anxiety, substance use, depression, eating disorders, stress). You or someone you know may need to see a Psychologist if you/they are having difficulty in relationships, feeling sad all the time, have suffered a traumatic event, need an assessment for work/school etc.
What is TTAP?
TTAP is the acronym for ‘Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists’, which is the representative body for Psychologists in Trinidad and Tobago. TTAP was incorporated by an act of parliament (No. 84) in the year 2000.
Are Psychologists Licensed in Trinidad and Tobago?
No, there is currently no license needed to practice Psychology in Trinidad and Tobago. TTAP is in the process of pursuing licensure and all practicing Psychologists are advised and expected to register with TTAP as full financial members. Since licensure is not currently required, membership with TTAP is one way to establish whether a practicing Psychologist is sufficiently and legitimately qualified.
How Do I Know if A Psychologist is Qualified to Help Me?
Membership with TTAP requires Psychologists to present proof of their educational and professional qualifications. Not all Psychologists in Trinidad & Tobago are listed with TTAP under ‘full member’ status. Feel free to ask your Psychologist if they are a ‘TTAP full member’ or if they are qualified to treat the problem for which you are seeking help. Psychologists need at minimum a Master’s degree from an ACTT (Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago) accredited or recognized university. Other skills such as hypnotherapy, art therapy, or neurofeedback would require further certification along with a degree.
Can TTAP Help Me Find A Psychologist?
Not all Psychologists do the same work, some specialize in specific areas such as testing or working with adults only or children only. TTAP can provide a referral list of full financial members to help you select a Psychologist that suits your need.
How Are Counselling and Clinical Psychologists Different?
Counselling Psychologists focus more on healthy individuals who may be dealing with a difficult issue, who have suffered a “break in transmission” while Clinical Psychologists tend to focus more on persons with more severe mental health challenges. Both Counselling and Clinical Psychologists use psychotherapy, counselling or ‘talk’ therapy to help people. Clinical Psychologists offer other services such as psychometric testing and assessment. They may also liaise with medical professionals like GPs and Psychiatrists to discuss treatment involving medication.
Can Psychologists Prescribe Medicine?
In Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean, Psychologists cannot prescribe medication. There are a few states in the United States of America in which Ph.D. qualified Clinical Psychologists can prescribe medication, but it is not a local practice.
How Much Does It Cost To See A Psychologist?
Therapy and assessments can range in prices depending on the type of treatment and experience of the Psychologist. Therapy usually can range from $150 – $1000 per session. Assessments usually range from $3000 – $6000 for the entire assessment. There are some free services available through the Regional Health Authority Wellness centres, University clinics and some NGOs. Some health insurance companies (e.g. Sagicor) provide reimbursement for Psychology services if you see a TTAP registered Psychologist.
See our website for a list of TTAP referred psychologists – www.psychologytt.org
News Reporter
Dr Katija Khan is the Immediate Past President of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists. She is a Neuropsychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the UWI, St Augustine where she also coordinates the MSc Clinical Psychology Programme. She is a member of the North West Regional Health Authority Mental Health Committee, the National Suicide Prevention Working Committee and the CANPA (Caribbean Association of National Psychology Associations) Professional Education and Training committee. An alumna and past faculty member of the UWI (St. Augustine and Mona campuses), Dr Khan completed her PhD at Hull University and was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, England, where she was a member of the Translational Neuropsychology Group in the Department of Neuroscience. She lived and worked in Jamaica and England for 10 years before repatriating home to Trinidad. She has a diverse range of clinical and research interests including the delivery of psychological interventions in public health service, dementia, suicide, exercise and mental health, mental toughness in athletes and cross-cultural validity of psychological assessment. She is keenly interested in improving standards for professional psychology across the Caribbean, public education for mental health, improving public access to psychological interventions and improving wellness in Caribbean societies.

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