What Is the Difference Between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist?

What Is the Difference Between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist?

Many people want to know what the difference is between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.


Both a psychologist and a psychiatrist start with a bachelor’s degree. The difference is how it continues in school.

A psychiatrist completes four years of medical school and receives a doctorate. Like all medical professionals, they then choose a specialty, such as pediatrician, surgeon, family physician, etc. Psychiatrists specialize in psychiatry. This allows them to provide therapy to patients and they specialize in treating mental disorders such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. They may also specialize in certain populations, such as child psychiatry, substance abuse, and the elderly.

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A psychologist completes a course of study to earn a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree. Both are doctorates in psychology. Along the way, they may also earn their master’s degree in psychology. Since a psychologist is not a doctor, they cannot prescribe medication. Most psychologists will pursue a career that focuses either on working with clients in therapy (family therapy, individual therapy, couples therapy, child therapy) or on academic work, such as being a professor at a university, which includes teaching and research. Some psychologists offer psychological testing and assessment.


Today, many, but not all, psychiatrists practice exclusively with medication. This means that if you are struggling with mental health issues that may require medication, they are the experts in the field. They are often called upon when people have tried medications through their primary care physician that were not effective or had unwanted side effects. Appointments for drug treatment are usually made once a month or even quarterly. Some psychiatrists provide therapy and medication management.

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Psychologists offer different types of therapy. They may offer play therapy, child and adolescent therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, and individual therapy. Most outpatient sessions last 45 minutes to an hour. Many clients come for therapy weekly.

Psychological testing:

In addition to therapy, some psychologists offer psychological testing. These may include:

Learning tests to identify giftedness or learning disabilities.
Tests for ADHD/ADD
Tests for autism and Asperger’s
Tests to detect personality disorders and other psychological problems
Tests to determine intelligence
To summarize:

A psychologist is a person who has earned a doctorate in psychology. They represent the highest level of education if you are interested in ongoing therapy or assessment. They also work in academic settings such as colleges. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. Many of them treat mental illness with the help of medication.

You would see a psychiatrist if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, attention problems, etc. and need medication to stabilize yourself medically, but don’t necessarily want therapy. Some people get therapy with a psychologist and see a psychiatrist for medication. This combination works quite well if you need medication.

article source Neurology hospital in Dubai