Difference Between Psychologist And Psychiatrist

Difference between psychologist and psychiatrist. The psychologist vs. psychiatrist debate has been going on for many years now. It is very important to understand the difference between the two. Although both professions deal with the mental health of a patient, the methods differ from one another.
Very often, you will notice that the terms psychologist and psychiatrist are used interchangeably. However, they are significantly different from one another. When people face mental health problems, there starts a debate between the two. Individuals are often confused, and do not know whom to seek help from.


Who is a Psychologist?

First let us begin with the psychologist. A Psychologist provides counseling to the patients and therapy to treat their mental health. This allows the psychologist to assist the patient or client to find solutions to his or her problem. The counseling process should not be considered as an advisory process, but more of guidance. A psychologist is expected to have completed a Ph.D. in psychology. Also, a psychologist need not attend a medical school or college.  A psychologist is not entitled to prescribe medications to patients. This is one of the main differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
It is interesting to note that although psychologists do not attend medical schools like psychiatrists, they are supposed to have completed their PhD to attain scholarship on the subject and hence they are adept in providing counseling to the patients and provide therapy to treat their mental health too. They would do well to refer the patients to the psychiatrists. It means that the psychiatrists are not entitled to provide counseling to the patients. Hence counseling part of treatment is done professionally by the psychologists.


Who is a Psychiatrist?

The psychiatrist is a specialist doctor who can prescribe medications. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with an M.D. degree. Unlike a psychologist who does not need to attend medical school, a psychiatrist must attend a medical college. Psychiatrists are expected to complete residency training programs too like any other doctor after completing the degree. In other words, it can be said that a psychiatrist officiates like any other specialist doctor. It is quite important to note that a psychiatrist can prescribe medications like any other doctor.
One of the main differences between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychiatrist should work with the patient well within the hospital premises, whereas a psychologist is not expected at all times to work on the hospital premises. He can work away from the hospital premises too. As you can observe there is a clear difference in the qualifications and the professional role of a psychologist and a psychiatrist. This difference can be summarized as follows.


What is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?


Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist

1. Definition.
The definition of psychiatrist is a physician who diagnoses and helps aid those with a mental illness.  A psychologist on the other hand is actually a social scientist who studies mental processes and behavior, usually in a clinical or research setting. The two differ because a psychologist studies behaviors of people and their habits as well as perform clinical trials and does research. A psychiatrist on the other hand took courses in medical and prescribes medication for patients while listening to them talk. They don’t study behaviors of people like psychologists do.

2. Therapies
The two also differ in the way that they treat their patience. A psychologist will perform CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy as well as psychotherapy. Their therapies tend to do more with ones behavior and mental state. They try to identify the problem and tackle them with different methods. A psychiatrist on the other hand, does therapy dealing with medications or psychotherapy. Sometimes they also dabble in electroconvulsive therapy. They don’t deal with ones behaviors and emotions like psychologist do.

3. Medications
The big difference between the two are whether they prescribe medication or not to their patients. A psychiatrist does prescribe medication to their patience if they feel that they need it in order to get over their mental illnesses. A psychologist on the other hand does not prescribe medication but may redirect a patient to a psychiatrist if they believe they need medication. However, that is fairly slim because psychologists don’t normally believe in medicine as a cure for mental illnesses. A psychiatrist can give a wide variety of pharmaceutical meds to their patients because unlike psychologists they did take majors in medicine and pharmaceuticals to properly diagnose and distribute medicines. They work around the clock to make sure their giving the proper meds to the proper people.

4. Educational Qualifications:
Psychologist: A psychologist is expected to have completed a Ph.D. in psychology.
Psychiatrist:  A psychiatrist for that matter is a medical doctor with an M.D. degree

5. Medical School:
Psychologist: A psychologist need not attend a medical school.
Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist must attend a medical college and complete residency training programs.

6. Premises of work:
Psychologist: A psychologist is not expected to work in the hospital premises at all times. He can work away from the hospital premises too.
Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist should work with the patient well within the hospital premises.


Psychiatrist and Psychologist. Who is better?

For the future students the question “who is better: psychiatrist or psychologist?”  is very common. The answer will depend on what they want to get from their future profession.  In case when you are going to work with patients regularly, it will be a good idea to become a psychiatrist. If you want to improve yourself day by day and to search you may become a psychologist.  Usually patients choose specialists according to their problems. For example, if they would like to visit consultant usually, visiting psychologist will be the best variant. But if somebody needs medication to cure his serious problems he needs the help of psychiatrist.