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Doctorate degree or medical school?

I am considering becoming either a counseling psychologist where I would need to earn a doctorate degree overall, or a psychiatrist where I would need to attend medical school. I'm asking for opinions on the two different options. #psychology

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Lauren’s Answer

I always start with a few questions to determine my real interests and career desires. 1 - What problem would you like to solve? What is the best option for solving that problem?
In counseling/psychology our aim is to solve "thinking/feeling" disorders by using evidence based techniques in the format of "talk" therapy. In psychiatry the aim is to solve "brain" disorders by using pharmaceuticals and medical based techniques. For instance if a patient has Bipolar Disorder (chemical imbalance in the brain that causes severe mood swings and sometimes a break from typical reality) - a counselor/psychologist/therapist can help the patient change the cycle of thoughts and emotions that cause distress, a psychiatrist can help to balance the persons mood swings by using a combination of psychotropic medications. In rare cases there are psychiatrists who do both types of treatment, and these individuals have extensive training in psychiatry and psychotherapy techniques.
Choose the path that fulfills your desired outcome to the questions - What problem do I want to solve? Which choice is in alignment with my values (i.e. do you strongly believe psychotherapy or psychiatry would be the best solution to the problem you want to solve?)?

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Phaedra’s Answer

Hi Blake,


I can't answer your question from the perspective of which path will give you the most success or credibility in the field, as i don't practice psychology or psychiatry. However, I think an important thing to consider as you try to answer this question is how much will you end up paying for your school and then how much can you realistically earn? Invest in your schooling if it will benefit you in the end. If, instead, you end up with lots of debt and not a lot of earning potential, you've put a heavy burden on your future as you will have years ahead of you where you'll have to pay off your debt.

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