When having any concern related to mental health, it’s a must for you to seek help from the doctor. But, how do you know what type of healthcare provider you should talk to? Do you look for a psychologist or psychiatrist? Both have a lot of similarities since they share the same meaning, and that may cause confusion to people. However, they do have important variances that you need to understand. So, what exactly is the difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist? The question sounds like the setup for a joke but actually no – here is what you should know to decide which is right for you.
How are they alike? Psychologists and psychiatrists both study the brain, emotions, feelings, and thoughts to help humans deal with mental health issues. They are always ready to give you advice through problems. Their main aim is to provide you the direction to manage the troubles in your everyday life.
The simplest answer for the difference between these two fields mainly lies in the education requirements, specific training, practice, and salary for each profession. A psychiatrist has a degree in medicine, while a psychologist owns a doctor-level degree in psychology.
What’s a Psychologist? – A person who wants to become a psychologist must have a doctoral degree (a Ph.D., which means Doctor of Philosophy; an Ed.D., which means Doctor of Education; or a Psy.D., which means Doctor of Psychology) from a professional school. All psychologists will have an extensive training in research after completing an original scientific study (doctoral dissertation) – it’s the major part of the training. Also, they should get training in psychological testing during the course of their graduate education in clinical psychology.
The psychologist’s training in research, in fact, is what most distinguishes a psychologist from other healthcare providers of mental health treatment. Not only using research to access various forms of treatment, but the psychology field also acquires the psychologists to cultivate some useful solid skills for analyzing information as well as drawing conclusions in psychotherapy sessions.
What’s a Psychiatrist? – This person is the physician that has specific training in the diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses. The psychiatrists must attend medical school and hold an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree. They may also receive a specialized training course in the psychiatry field, plus all the rigorous training of medical school. Psychiatry has a tendency to focus mainly on the use of medication for treatment. The psychiatrists don’t have to complete any personal psychotherapy, even though psychiatric training requires that training course. Still, for personal reasons, many psychiatrists decide to pursue training in psychotherapy.
Despite the fact that these two fields have differences, psychologists and psychiatrists often work together in the treatment of patients. Why? A psychologist is not able to write prescriptions, but enables to recommend you to visit a fellow psychiatrist in order to receive medications. In the contrary, most psychiatrists often arrange their patients to meet fellow psychologists & psychotherapists to receive counseling or mental health therapy.
Now, you finally figured out the difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist, right? With several distinctions, each profession seems to be quite unique and impressive.
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