Psychiatrist Vs Psychologist What%E2%80%99s The Difference And Which Is Right For You

Psychiatrist Vs PsychologistWhat’s The Difference And Which Is Right For You?

By: - Health & Fitness - July 12, 2011
psychiatrist vs psychologist what%E2%80%99s the difference and which is right for you

When seeking therapy, people are often confused by the options available to them.  When considering the differences that exist between psychiatrist vs psychologist, it’s not uncommon to feel frustrated while trying to understand what each profession actually does and how they can benefit you.  This article seeks to provide some understanding to patients seeking therapy by providing a framework for psychiatrist vs psychologist and what they do.

What’s the Difference?

For starters, it must be understood that the two professions are related and often go together.  That said, the primary difference between the practices of an individual psychiatrist vs psychoanalyst is their focus and treatment and the training the practitioners have had to that end.  A psychiatrist is a trained medical doctor (MD) who specializes in mental health.  A psychologist is a doctor of psychology (PhD) and is trained in psychoanalysis.  The differences between the professions of Psychiatrist vs Psychoanalysis may seem negligible at first glance but the foundations for the two sciences are different enough to make one or the other approach entirely inappropriate for certain situations.

Psychiatry is a specialization in medicine.  The training background that a psychiatrist has had focuses on the function of the brain and mental processes as they are directly related to a person’s physiology.  While they also have a reasonably sound background in psychology as well, their angle for their education is geared more towards the physical phenomena that directly affect the brain and mental function of the patient.  Psychology on the other hand is practiced by a doctor whose training includes a very strong background in cognitive theory and human development from the angle of emotional and mental science.  They are therapists trained to treat mental disorders and difficulties caused by stimulus that isn’t necessarily physical.

These distinctions in training are the basis for all of the differences in the two professions; Psychiatrist vs Psychologist is really a distinction between two different types of doctor: MD vs PhD.

Where’s the Cross-Over?

One of the interesting aspects of considering a psychiatrist vs psychoanalyst for treatment is the areas in which the two professions overlap.  When medication is required as part of therapy it can only be administered by an MD, hence, a psychiatrist.  This means that in situations where a psychologist is required for therapy, any medication he feels may be beneficial must be prescribed by a psychiatrist, forcing the two professionals to work together for effective treatment of a patient.  It works in the other direction as well.  Take the instance of Bipolar Disorder (BD).  BD is a disorder that is physical and requires a medical doctor to diagnose and treat.   However, the treatment of a psychologist is often required as well, as learning how to cope with such a disorder and dealing with the emotional and mental fallout from such a disorder is going to be part of the treatment for that condition.  This means that the question of psychiatrist vs psychoanalyst is answerable by determining what your needs are.  Some people will need the services of a psychiatrist alone and will find that the therapy they offer is sufficient for their needs.  Others will find that they do not need the services of a psychiatrist at all and are better off under the care of a therapist.  Still others will need the care of both professionals in order to receive maximum benefits from their treatment.

The Bottom Line

Determining which professional’s services you are in need of isn’t something you have to do on your own.  Scheduling an evaluation with a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst is a great place to start.  Unless you have an already known and diagnosed disorder or some kind, you’re probably starting from a place of knowing that something is wrong and you need help, but not being sure what that something is.  This is quite normal and most people seeking therapy of any kind are in this predicament when beginning.  The first step is to rule out any physical causes for the mental or emotional difficulties being faced and then it must be decided which kind of treatment is appropriate for your case and condition.  Psychiatry vs Psychology covers the full range of treatment options for whatever your condition may be.


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