Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist


While both psychiatrists and psychologists are mental health professionals, the big difference is that psychiatrists are medical physicians (M.D. or D.O.) while psychologists are not. Because they are licensed physicians, psychiatrists can prescribe drugs. Psychologists are not allowed to do that.

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Education Psychiatrists are trained to be physicians (MDs or DOs) and complete 4 years of medical school, then 4 years of medical residency training. As an MD they are licensed to prescribe and to give full physical examinations. Psychologists receive 5 years of graduate training leading to a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology. Their primary training is in psychotherapy, behavioral science, psychological research and personality assessments.
Type of work The medical training of psychiatrists qualifies them for administering somatic therapies such electro-convulsive therapy and psychotropic medication. While not typically trained in, some psychiatrists will do therapy. Clinical psychologists provide psychological/behavioral interventions for those who are experiencing psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, anger, addictions, PTSD, ADHD, Family stress/divorce.
Method of Treatment Meet with clients for approximately 5 - 15 minutes and prescribe medications. A small percentage of psychiatrists provide psychotherapy. Meet with clients for 45 - 60 minutes, educate about the mind-body relationship, provide emotional support, conduct psychological testing and assessment. In Louisiana and New Mexico, can also prescribe mental health medications, if certified
Interests Curing mental disorders resulting from physical problems (genetic or obtained), primarily via medication or more invasive medical therapies such as ECT. Finding healthy alternative ways of thinking and living life. How to implement positive habits and assisting clients to improve and enjoy their relationships.

edit Education and Topics of Study

All psychiatrists complete at least four years of post graduate medical training.

Psychologists are not medical doctors; they do not have medical degrees but have advanced degrees in clinical or counseling (like Master's in Psychology) or the equivalent and have more training in psychological research and personality assessment than DOs or MDs.

There are some natural overlaps between a psychologist’s work and a psychiatrist’s work. Psychologists study the mind that includes the study of disturbed mind, and even a sick mind or psychopathology. Psychiatrists also study psychopathology.

edit Nature of treatment

Psychologists and psychiatrists often work together for the well-being of the client as their job descriptions overlap. However, there are differences in the techniques they use. Psychologists use approaches such as counseling, hypnosis, psychotherapy and relaxation. While psychiatrists can use these techniques too, they are also allowed to prescribe medication to their patients. For diseases like schizophrenia, for example, the patient would see a psychiatrist and not a psychologist.

The fields of psychology and psychiatry are both essential in researching and developing treatment for improving mental and emotional health. Differences aside, psychologists and psychiatrists share a common goal and that is helping people feel better.

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Comments: Psychiatrist vs Psychologist

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Anonymous comments (4)

October 29, 2013, 4:25am

Psychiatrist wants to control you and sell drugs

Psychologist wants to understand to better accept you and you to be accepted by others

— 124.✗.✗.104

October 19, 2012, 6:35am

It should be noted that a DO can be a psychiatrist and has all the same education and that an MD does. In most cases they have more training because of the addition of osteopathic education.

— 67.✗.✗.38

October 31, 2013, 12:26am

Psychiatry is being debated on whether or not to be integrated into my school system and I'm all, "Psychiatrist give out drugs and cure mental disorders, students will be treated as psychopaths and like they are in an asylum. That is not going to happen!"

— 108.✗.✗.26

December 9, 2012, 4:26pm

"psychologists are not doctors" is a very inaccurate statement. Maybe the phrase you were searching for is "not physicians". To be a clinical psychologist you need a phd thus making them doctors. Also, the average length of a phd ranges from 5-7 years of graduate training.

— 173.✗.✗.44


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Psychiatry vs. Psychology