What Is The Difference Between A Psychiatrist And A Psychologist?

Ask an average person on the streets about what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist and you will likely hear a mixture of impressive often confusing statements. The general public often mixes up these two professions and thinks they are the same. Although both study the brain, feelings, emotions, and thoughts, and often work together in the area of patient assessment and counseling, their education, training, and practice is very different from each other. 

By learning what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, you will be in a better position to decide which one is right for you. So, without wasting any time, let us look at some major differences between the two professions:

Psychiatry vs. Psychology – The Education

The educational requirements to become a psychiatrist are more complex than that of a psychologist. Like surgery, medicine, or paediatricts, Psychiatry is a medical specialty and psychiatrists have to earn an MD degree or higher and complete 2 years of residency training (foundation job) in psychiatry in hospitals before they can start their own practice. 

Psychologist, on the other hand, do not attend any medical school, rather they earn their degrees (MA, M.S., M.Ed., Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology or allied branches from a graduate school. Their education is more concentrated on personality development, psychological research, and the history of psychological problems. 

Psychiatry vs. Psychology – The Treatment

Since Psychiatrists are trained doctors, they are responsible for diagnosing mental disorders and prescribing medications or medical treatments, as their expertise focuses purely on the chemical imbalances within the brain. 

Psychologists, on the other hand, place more emphasis on dealing with and clarifying psychological mechanisms, they do not place as much importance on the physiological aspects. They rely on behavioral interventions to treat patients suffering from emotional and mental illnesses/disorders. They cannot prescribe medications, they rely on psychological testing to assess a patient’s mental state and determine the best course of action. 

Psychiatry vs. Psychology – The Practice | What Is The Difference Between A Psychiatrist And A Psychologist?

While both a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist are trained to address mental/emotional health issues/disorder/abnormalities, Psychiatrists take into account the whole person, focusing on psychological history, biology, neurochemistry, and other medical conditions the patient might be undergoing, while Psychologists focus entirely on the human mind and human behavior. 

Now that you are familiar with what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, you need to keep in mind that no one profession is better than the other, rather both of them often work together in close coordination to achieve the common goal – help heal the mind.  

Entegra Health
Psychologist Melbourne