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Psychiatrist vs Psychologist

The following information is news only and does not reflect the practice or opinions of the doctor.

‘Psychiatrist’ and ‘Psychologist’ are among the most commonly interchangeably used words. It is quite common for most people to get confused between the two terms. While both professions deal with the human’s mental and behavioral aspects, they each have unique differences when it comes to educational prerequisites, professional training and practice. Now let’s take a look at the preparation and education as well as the job specifications and professional training of each profession.


When it comes to education, the road to becoming a psychiatrist is quite lengthy. Psychiatrists are required to get a Doctoral Degree, hence, they have the same education as with the medical doctors. They need to undergo six years of education with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. In addition, they are also required to go through a psychiatric internship or residency for three years. Finally, to become a full-pledged psychiatrist one should pass a medical licensure exam and a certification exam in psychiatry. Psychiatrists provide primary care for people with serious mental issues as well as people suffering from clinical depression and chemical dependency. They have in-depth knowledge of the human mind and behavior. They can provide counselling and prescribe medications where appropriate, depending on the symptoms and severity of the mental disorder.


Psychologists need to obtain a sufficient amount of formal education. They are required to get a major or a doctoral or master degree in the field of psychology. They can choose from a number of specialties including school, clinical psychology as well as counseling. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists cannot prescribe medications. However, they can offer counselling and various therapies to deal with mental problems. They employ a myriad of psychological tools and tests such as clinical interview, personality assessment, behavioral assessment and aptitude tests in order to analyze and determine the patient’s mental disorder and ultimately come up with the best therapy for treatment.


Initially, people who are suffering from mental problems and dependencies are reluctant to seek for professional help. It is but typical for someone battling with emotional and mental issues to rather turn to someone whom they are close with and whom they are comfortable to open up with – friends, parents, relatives, uncles or aunts. While it can be a sort of a reliever, it is very important to follow it up by scheduling an appointment with either a psychologist or a psychiatrist to further discuss the problem. For some cases of depression, a treatment may not be needed at times but if the problem has been recurring, it is recommended to seek for professional help. Talking to a mental health professional as early as possible is crucial so that treatment can be done early on and the problem or condition will not escalate.


Both psychologists and psychiatrists can help with counseling and mental diagnosis. If further medications will be needed though, the psychiatrist will be the one to work closely with the mental patient. As mentioned, psychologists are not licensed to prescribe drugs and medications, in this case they will have to refer the patient to a psychiatrist. For psychiatry help contact Psychiatry Treatment.