Difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Msc (psychology), NLP
@Islaah Center for Psychological Wellness

The biggest confusion remains between Psychiatrists and Psychologists, who are often used synonymously but do very different work. Both are key professions in the field of mental health and behavior, but are not the same. Mental health is a great and rewarding field, but it also requires you to be resilient, empathetic and emotionally stable.

Psychiatrists have a medical degree along with advanced qualifications from residency and a specialty in psychiatry. Medications, and other treatments to treat people with mental health conditions.

Psychologists have an advanced degree in different streams such as counselling, clinical psychology etc. Counseling psychologist can help people to overcome day to day stressful situation and helps them to develop better coping skills and good mental health wellbeing, whereas clinical psychologist are specialized in diagnosing and managing the various mental health disorders. Most common mode of treatment is psychotherapy and counselling. Both types of providers must be licensed in their area to practice.

Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behavior. Individuals who practice Psychology are known as Psychologists and study how human beings think, behave and feel in different social settings. They are experts in human behavior. Though many psychologists hold doctorate degrees but they are not medical doctors, and most cannot prescribe medications. Rather, they solely provide psychotherapy, which may involve cognitive and behavioral interventions.

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of mental illness, emotional disturbances, and abnormal behavior. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who looks at biological, neurological and biochemical abnormalities to diagnose mental illnesses and prescribe medications to treat them, which they do in conjunction with providing psychotherapy, though medical and pharmacological interventions are often their focus.

Psychologists and psychiatrists represent distinctive professional designations, but both plays a key role in the field of mental health. Key differences between psychologists and psychiatrists come down to educational background and prescribing powers, but both share the important goal of helping patients to lead better and healthy lives.

Neither one is “better” than the other, but one’s needs and specific symptoms may play a role in which type of professional is best equipped to assist with treatment.