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I was surprised this morning to hear an interview on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the CNN medical reporter (a neuro surgeon by profession) addressing a guest psychologist as Mr. Xxxxx

Later in the interview he addressed his guest as Dr.Xxxx

I don't know if Dr. Gupta was having a bad day and a lapse of memory, but my understanding was that a psychologist would be addressed as Dr. Xxxx.

Is there a situation where a psychologist would not be a Phd and would not be entitled to be addressed as Dr. Xxxx.

Are there any other naming protocols to be aware of when addressing various mental health professionals who are not MD's?


My therapist has a Masters, not a PhD (requirement in my province to be a licensed psychologist is a Masters) and therefore I address her by her first name. My previous therapist had a PhD but I also addressed him by his first name. I think in these instances it is their preference - if I were doing an interview with someone, I would find out their credentials beforehand and either refer to them as Dr. or Mr/Ms So-and-So. In an interview I would not use a first name.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Licensing requirements do vary from one location to another.

For example, in Ontario, a Psychologist always has a doctoral degree; those with a Masters degree use the title Psychological Associate. However, in other provinces in Canada, especially where the numbers of doctoral psychologists is lower, one may be able to use the regulated title Psychologist with Masters degree, in which case it would be appropriate to call that person Mr. or Ms. rather than doctor.

Daniel E.
BTW, my favorite quote about getting a PhD:

"We dangle our three magic letters before the eyes of these predestined victims, and they swarm to us like moths to an electric light. They come at a time of life when failure can no longer be repaired easily and when the wounds it leaves are permanent ... "

-- William James, "The Ph.D. Octopus", 1903
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