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Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist

freud11Although the terms ‘psychologist’ and ‘psychiatrist’ are used interchangeably to describe qualified individuals who provide the therapy services, the meanings varies on whether you are a student of psychology or a buyer looking for a mental healthcare provider.

Generally, both psychologists and psychiatrists conduct psychotherapy and research, but there are few major differences exist between the two professions.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and a psychologist is not a doctor. Therefore the educational background is the most apparent difference between these two.

A psychologist receives graduate training in psychology and has credentials either a Ph.D. or Doctor in psychology. They have expertise in clinical or counseling psychology. Their doctorate programs usually 5-7 years with additional 1-2 years internship in order to gain licensure.

The title of ‘psychologist’ mostly used by qualified individuals who have completed the education, training, and state license. Sometimes there are other informal titles such as “counselor” or “therapist” can also refer to psychologists. However, other mental health care professionals such as licensed social workers can also call themselves as therapists or counselors.

On the other hand, psychiatrists are physicians who are trained for assessment, diagnosis, treatment and preventions of psychological problems. They attend to medical school and achieve an M.D. They complete medical training and 4 years of residency in mental health. There are other specific areas can also be considered by psychiatrists including geriatric psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and other addiction and mental health areas.

In terms of prescribing medications to patients who need mental health consultation, psychiatrist can prescribe medication while psychologist cannot.

Summary:

Psychologists- conducts psychotherapy, administer psychological tests, conduct research, and cannot prescribe medications to patients.

Psychiatrist- go to medical school and earn an M.D, able to perform assessment on patients, diagnosis, can treat and prevent of psychological problems, and able to prescribe medications to patients.


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4 Comments

  1. “Although the terms ‘psychologist’ and ‘psychiatrist’ are used interchangeably to describe qualified individuals who provide the therapy services, the meanings varies on whether you are a student of psychology or a buyer looking for a mental healthcare provider.”

    The second part of this sentence is incorrect. A psychologist has a Bachelor of Arts (in Australia, at least), and has no medical training. A psychiatrist is a doctor who has specialised in Psychiatry after obtaining his/her degree. The meaning *does not* differ depending on who you are. What you mean is that, if you are seeking professional mental health help, you may go to either one. And this is true. Generally, however, if you are seeking treatment for something that needs to be treated with medication, such as severe depression or schizophrenia, you will need to see a psychiatrist first, who *may* also counsel you. If you are seeking help but are unsure who to speak to, you would first see a psychologist, who would talk to you about your problems, and either continue seeing you, or refer you onto a psychiatrist for medication, or both.

    Often, psychiatrists will medicate a patient and monitor him/her, but the patient will regularly see a psychologist who counsels the patient and deal with the cognitive, behavioural and emotional side (as opposed to the chemical) of their problems.

    • A psychologist is a client agent who sever client for his/her good and healthy life.

      A psychiatrist is a government social control agent who punish patient under the name of care and help, using the side effect of drug to poison, torture, rape, electric shock for the porpuse to bring undetectable brain damage to the victim.

      Psychiatrist responsable for school shooting world wide tragedy. All the gunman are the psychiatrist torture victim. The purpose to create mass murder tragedy is to build a association of mental illness people and mass murder in public mind. In other word, the truth, fact, realty of public were munipulated by psychiatrist.

      Assertive community treadment done by psychiatrist directly responsible for anti-social mass murder world wide. Assertive community treadment, under the name of care and help, abuse, torture, poison, and create psychiatrist mind controled slave carrying out murder and other tasks for political porpuses.

      Psychiatry is the world most dark evil power build on this plant by the government and Religan power.

      The enemy of Psychiatrist is CCHR, who expose their real crimes, while psycholorist has no enemy.

    • “A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and a psychologist is not a doctor”

      Incorrect statement, even though you know what you are talking about and I know what you mean. The statement should read “A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and a psychologist is not a MEDICAL doctor”.

      Unfortunately the public automatically thinks of a “doctor” as interchangeable with “medical doctor”. A person with a “doctorate” in pharmacology usually can provide a quicker answer about a particular agent than a “medical doctor”. A person with a doctorate in Physiology can usually give a more detailed account on what would make a better flight suit to combat the typical forces encountered in high-G flight, as opposed to your family “doctor” general practitioner.

      A psychologist *might* be a “doctor”- meaning he or she holds a doctoral degree.

      1. A psychologist is a person who has at least obtained an undergraduate degree, and more often denotes a person who holds a graduate (masters) or doctorate degree in the field of psychology.

      2. A psychiatrist is a person who has completed medical school (like all the other medical doctors looking for a specific field to go into) *and* has simply selected to undertake and finish, the required training for the field of psychiatry (instead of specific training in say, dermatology, general surgery, ENT, ortho, radiology, etc.)

      It is unfortunate that most people are oblivious to how med school works. Getting through the initial 4 years of med school basically means nothing- because getting “somewhere” in medicine is predicated on getting into, and completing training in a specialty (highly competitive for radiology, ortho, and some others). This is one reason why so many physicians leave the military as soon as their student loans are paid off… because the military often keeps them in limbo without giving them specialty training which equates to (I’m not afraid to say it) being “poor” and basically chained to a chincy job tending to scrapes, bruises, broken arms and the common cold- which translates to working in the arm pit of the medical field.

      Medical School (like Law School) just gives a student the bare basics of the field… The real world training comes after that.

      Skip paying big bucks for the Psychiatrist- see the psycologist (for the often worthless pep talk), and drive across the state line to the Nurse Practitioner to get a prescription for your meds (to minimize the amount of times that you hear voices that aren’t really there) 😉
      ** tongue-in-cheek **

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