Difference Between Social Worker and Psychologist with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

The main difference between social worker and psychologist is that social worker aims to create general social change, while a psychologist aims to provide psychological assistance to people.

Interacting with diverse people in a diverse society is challenging. We face many obstacles throughout our lives, and third party assistance becomes a necessity in these times. Social workers and psychologists are two of the employees who work to raise people’s living conditions in different ways. A social worker is someone who is trained to alleviate the conditions of people who are mentally, physically, economically or socially disadvantaged, while a psychologist is specifically trained to alleviate the psychological conditions of people.

Key areas covered

1. Who is a social worker
     – Definition, Role, Subjects
2. Who is a psychologist
     – Definition, Role, Subjects
3. What is the difference between a social worker and a psychologist?
      – Comparison of key differences

Key terms

Attendance, Careers, Community Work, Professions, Social Worker, Psychologist

Who is a social worker

A social worker is a person who is trained to help people who are mentally, physically, economically, or socially disadvantaged. Therefore, the career scope of a social worker is broader than that of a psychologist.

As the International Federation of Social Workers defines social work, it is “a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. The principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversity are fundamental to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities, and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to meet life’s challenges and improve well-being. “

Consequently, the profession of social work is derived from psychology, sociology, politics, criminology, economics, ecology, education, health, law, philosophy, anthropology, and counseling, including psychotherapy. Although most social workers often provide mental health support to people, they also help people with other aspects such as counseling, psychotherapy, charity work, etc.

In general, social workers must have at least a bachelor’s and master’s degree from an accredited educational program, and in most states, they must be licensed, certified, or registered.

Who is a psychologist

A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behavior. Therefore, they can help people suffering from psychological problems to overcome them. Consequently, a psychologist studies normal and abnormal psychological behaviors and mental states of people ranging from their cognitive, emotional and social processes. This is done by observing, interpreting, recording and, finally, analyzing how these individuals relate to each other according to their environment. Therefore, psychologists mainly practice within two general categories such as applied psychology (including professionals or professionals) and research-oriented psychology (including scientific or academic).

Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov, and Carl Jung are famous psychologists. They made pioneering discoveries in the field of psychology, such as analytical psychology and behaviorism. There are mainly three types of psychologists:

  • Applied Psychologists – Psychologists who use psychological principles and research to solve real-world problems. These types of psychologists include aviation psychologists, engineering psychologists, industrial organization psychologists, and human factors psychologists, etc.
  • Research Psychologists: Psychologists who experiment and conduct other related studies on behavior with human or animal participants. These professionals work in education and others related to health.
  • Mental Health Psychologists – Psychologists who work to resolve people’s mental disorder or psychological distress. They provide counseling and often work in educational and other health-related centers such as hospitals, etc. They are known by various names like clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists, etc.

To practice as a professional psychologist, one must have a graduate degree (with or without) a master’s degree or even a doctorate. In addition to professional training, they have to be recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA). Therefore, these practicing psychologists have the professional training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with life problems and mental health problems. 

Many psychologists are trained in clinical psychology, which includes specialized training in mental health and psychological problems. Clinical psychologists may also specialize in the forensic, neuropsychological, or educational fields.

Similarities Between Social Worker and Psychologist

  • Both professionals are aware of the fundamentals of the field of psychology.
  • At some point in the social worker’s career, they may also provide psychological support to individuals, even if they are not qualified as psychologists.

Difference between social worker and psychologist


A social worker is a professional trained to help people who are mentally, physically, economically, or socially disadvantaged. On the other hand, a psychologist is a professional trained to treat mental health problems and other psychological problems related to human behavior.

Specialization or subjects

Social workers are specialized in various fields (sociology, psychology, political science, public health, community development, law, economics, etc.) related to promoting change in society. However, a psychologist specializes in treating mental health and human behavior problems; Thus, psychologists dominate fields such as behaviorism, clinical psychology, neuropsychology, education, forensic medicine, etc. 


Responsibility wise, while a social worker has a broader responsibility that eventually aims to help people solve their problems related to physical, social, economic, legal and mental problems, the main responsibility of a psychologist is to help people to overcome and solve Your mental or behavioral problems. This is the main difference between a social worker and a psychologist.


The social worker and psychologist are among the most admired professions related to individual and social well-being in a society. The social worker is a professional who works to alleviate people’s living conditions, specifically helping those who are mentally, physically, economically or socially disadvantaged. Therefore, they eventually aim to create general social change. On the other hand, a psychologist is a professional who treats mental health problems and other psychological problems related to human behavior. This is the difference between a social worker and a psychologist.

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