3 answers

What are the differences between the work a pyschiatrist does and the work a psychologist does

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I have interest in being a psychologist or psychiatrist but I am bit fuzzy on the difference between the two.
#medicine #pyschology #pysch #pyschologist #mental-health-care #mental-health #clincial-mental-health #mental-health-counseling

3 answers

Scott’s Answer

Updated

In order t become a psychiatrist, one must go to Medical School. They receive an MD. After getting the MD, they can decide that they want to specialize. Some may want to specialize in Dermatology, that deals with skin issues. If you specialize in Psychiatry, then you work from the framework of the Medical Model. The Medical Model entails using medication to help correct a condition that the patient is complaining about - otherwise called a diagnosis. Psychiatrist can do talk therapy, but they use psychiatric medication as a tool for their clients. If a client is very depressed, they may prescribe an antidepressant medication and follow up seeing them for noted changes. The medication is not a cure all any more than a high blood pressure pill is a cure all for ones high blood pressure. One has to take the pill AND work at getting better ( exercise, eating better and trying to have a better mind set as possible. If the client was noted with signs and symptoms o that indicated a neurological problem, or a physical problem that might be contributing to the client's issues, then the Psychiatrist would refer the client over to Medicine for a medical workup.


On the other hand, a Psychologist has a PhD, or a Masters degree and cannot prescribe medication - the Psychologist is not a Medical Doctor. The Psychologist may see patients and do talk therapy with them, and guide them to help the client look at their problem differently so that their issues are not so threatening. They may help the client develop new or stronger coping skills. Another think the Psychologists do is testing. besides intelligence test, there are test that can indicate one's strengths and weaknesses for various jobs. These tests do not magically tell one what jobs they'd be good at, they act as a guide that here are a given person's strengths, so therefore, that person would most likely be good a this list of jobs. If. during the clinical time a Psychologist spends with a client the Psychologist feels that there may be some medical, or neurological issue, then the Psychologist would refer the client to a Medical Specialist.

Scott recommends the following next steps:

  • Subscribe to Psychology Today. This magazine talks about various topics that you would encounter whether you end up as a Psychiatrist, or a Psychologist.

Jennifer’s Answer

Updated

The simple ( but somewhat incomplete answer) is that a psychiatrist has a medicatl degree (M.D.) and is typically focused on prescribing and managing psychotropic medication (meaning any medication meant to stabilize mood); although a psychiatrist can sometimes also provide psychotherapy. A clinical psychologist has a Ph. D. or Psy. D. and is focused on providing psychotherapy;

although, a psychologist can also focus on other area of study and specialization (e.g., forensics, research, assessment/testing) and perhaps not do psychotherapy at all.

Judith-Ann’s Answer

Updated
KInley, many people get these two mixed up. There are two basic differences: a psychiatrist received an MD by going through medical school and interning, etc just like any doctor. A psychologist has a Doctorate in Psychology through the Psychology Department. So, generally when you need medication, you go to the Psychiatrist. When you need testing for various diagnoses, you go to a psychologist. Now some psychiatrists and psychologists also provide talk therapy. Some have assistants in their office to help with the ongoing treatment of patients.