We are often asked what the difference is between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist and when is the best time to consult each profession.
Web MD have a very good article on the difference between the two but ultimately, the main differences are:
Firstly, Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MDs) who graduate from medical school and go on to speacialise in the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychologists have a doctoral degree in an area of psychology, the study of the mind and human behavior. They’re not medical doctors. A psychologist can have a PhD in philosophy or a PsyD in clinical or counseling psychology.
Secondly, Because of their medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe medication wheras Psychologist cannot and they focus solely on assessment techniques and talking therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Schema Therapy – probably the most commonly known distinction between the two fields.
Psychologists and Psychiatrists can work closely together to manage treatment programmes and there is likely to be more need for the involvement of a Psychiatrist if the presenting problems are more severe.
If you have any questions about who may be appropriate for you to work with you may wish to contact your doctor initially but we are happy to help you navigate this complicated field.
Written by Dr. Olivia Thrift – registered Counselling Psychologist and founder of The Psychology Company.