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Is There a Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Is There a Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a person who studies and evaluates the mental condition of his or her patient. The education of a psychologist starts with a college degree in psychology. After attaining a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in psychology, the individual continues school to receive a master's.  An internship is required before a person actually becomes eligible for licensing. After appropriate years of experience, training, and studying, a psychologist will be able to study health problems, diagnose conditions, give non-medication health treatment, counsel people who are suffering from depression or psychosis, and ensure the mental well-being of the patient.

There are different types of psychologists:

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  • clinical psychologists
  • school psychologist
  • organizational psychologists
  • counselors

Psychologists treat mental conditions like:

According to the American Psychological Association, there are approximately 105,000 licensed psychologists in the United States.

What is a Psychiatrist?

In order to become a psychiatrist, a person has to undergo rigorous training in medical school, followed by a graduate program and a residency. Practice and residency should be performed in a hospital's psychiatric department only. Within the years of practice, the individual can decide the specific psychiatry they desire to practice.

Different specialists include:

  •  general psychiatry
  •  child psychiatry
  •  psychoanalyst

After schooling and residency is complete,  the individual must pass the required exam to become a licensed medical doctor. Currently, there is a serious shortage of psychiatrists in the U.S. according to the Huffington Post and American Medical Association. A psychiatrist diagnoses  mental disorders, since they have a better hold on neurochemistry, can order lab tests, conduct psychiatric testing, and prescribe medications to treat the conditions.

What are the Similarities?

A psychologist and psychiatrist normally work to better the mental health of the person. They quite often work together to improve a patient’s condition. A psychologist will recommend a psychiatrist that he or she has a professional relationship with, if the condition requires some serious testing and medication. Similarly, a psychiatrist may recommend psychologist that he or she has a professional relationship with to if further treatment is needed.

What are the Differences?

As is already mentioned above, their education and degrees are completely different. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications, whereas a psychologist provides effective non-medication therapy.