Psychiatry vs Psychology: What’s the Difference?

Psychologist And Psychiatrist

What are the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

are often confused as having the same meaning while those study the brain emotions feelings and thoughts there is a distinct difference between the two fields of study

The primary differences between the two fields are mainly the education requirements the specific training.

And practice a psychiatrist has a degree in medicine and a psychologist has a doctoral-level degree in psychology although there are differences in the two fields psychiatrists.

Psychologists often work together in the treatment of patients.

Psychologist is not able to write prescriptions but may recommend a patient be seen by a fellow psychiatrist in order to receive medications.

And vice versa for psychiatrists they often refer patients to the fellow psychotherapist

And psychologists to receive counseling or mental health therapy a psychiatrist is concerned with the patient’s well-being however,

Their focus is primarily towards disorders such as a chemical imbalance there as a psychologist primarily focuses on the patient’s thoughts feelings in general.

Mental health one possible advantage of seeing a psychiatrist is that as a medical doctor.

he or she has the knowledge and training to evaluate underlying medical problems or drug effects that could cause emotional or behavioral symptoms psychiatrists can also work more readily with.

your primary care doctor or other specialists are serious kinds of mental health problems such as major depression bipolar disorder or schizophrenia where physical symptoms may be,

and maybe hard to take basic care of yourself.

Psychiatrists generally have more formal training and treatment options available.

One of the main important differences between psychiatry and psychology is that in most states psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications as opposed to psychologists who which are unable to prescribe medication.

Otherwise, both psychiatrists and psychologists can provide psychotherapy, which is another type of treatment that does not involve any pharmacological use.   

So the main question I get asked by anybody whether this is family or friends is what’s the difference between a psychologist and the psychiatrist?

I’m going to explain the basic differences and keep watching till the end because I have a series of questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether a psychologist or a psychiatrist will be the best fit for you

So I’m going to be upfront and honest here, I am trained as a clinical psychologist so I probably have a certain bias towards this.

But it also gives me a certain qualification to be able to answer this question for you. What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

Well the basic difference is that a psychiatrist has a medical background and medical training.

The number one difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication.

They’re working from the medical model so they’re always looking for a physical cause.

They might prescribe the drugs but they’re also going to be looking at blood test samples they might order some brain scans.

Whereas a psychologist is looking for a root cause that is psychological in nature they’re not allowed to prescribe drugs.

Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors that then have further specialization in psychiatry.

Now clinical psychologists are also scientists they’re well trained in clinical diagnosis behavior and the scientific knowledge of the mind and behaviors but they are not trained in medicine and they’re not trained to give out medicines.

Clinical psychologists work with more talk therapies, something like cognitive behavioral therapy or solution-focused therapy.

And the second most important distinguishing factor between a psychiatrist and the psychologist is the time difference.

So a psychiatrist will see a patient for about 45 minutes for the first appointment but then will have much shorter follow up sessions maybe around 15 minutes after that to kind of follow up with medicine to see how things are going whether medicines need to be tapered off or increased.

Now a psychologist will see a client for between 50 minutes in an hour every time. S

o not just for the first appointment but every weekly or regular session that you have will always be around 50 minutes to an hour.

And that gives a much better chance of having a good therapeutic relationship. So this difference is important in my opinion.

A psychologist is looking at the long game here and that weekly session will really produce some lasting change for a client, they really get to know you but changes are not going to happen overnight.

So here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself before committing to seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Can I made the time commitment and put in a work needed to see a psychologist?

How do I feel about taking medicine and the potential side effects.

If there is a waiting list for a psychologist what can I do to help myself in the mean time?

Do you need someone who tells you what to do or someone who will work with you and see you as a co contributor to sessions.

And how long have you had the issue?

If it’s been developing over a long time then a psychologist might be a better option.

If it’s something that’s new and urgent has come up for you a psychiatrist may be better placed.

1 thought on “Psychiatry vs Psychology: What’s the Difference?”

  1. You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve read anything like this before.

    So good to discover someone with a few original
    thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up.

    This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a bit
    of originality!


Leave a Comment