A psychologist is a professional in mental health who uses cognitive and emotional tools to prevent and diagnose, to plan activities in order to enable or rehabilitate patients, to provide psychological support to individuals, groups, social organizations and communities. Psychologists can also be employed for testing, researching and teaching.
They can work in private areas (as professionals, in places included the National Health Service and in consulting firms), in public field (public health facilities, hospitals, municipal, regional and provincial districts) and in social-public areas (like NGO, governmental associations, cooperative societies and foundations).
Psychologists are not allowed to prescribe drugs: if necessary, they can suggest their patients to consult psychiatrists who will in case provide patients with pharmacological (medical) treatment. In Italy, if a psychologist wishes to practice he or she must enter his/her own Regional Psychological Association (it depends on where he/she lives).
In strict accordance with the deontological code – which regulates any kind of psychological activities – psychologists must maintain the utmost reserve on the matters related to their patients: this is the “professional secrecy” which binds psychologists (as well as physicians) not to spread their patients’ personal info, unless they agree or just in case those data are spread out anonymously.
Psychologists are allowed to meet patients for first hearing, diagnosis, guidance and interviews for psychological support.