Who Is Better: Psychiatrist Vs. Psychologist

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People who suffer from mental health illnesses need to see a professional as soon as possible. This is necessary to address the harmful effects of the psychological condition. At this point, it is essential to emphasize the fact that physical illness can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. On the other hand, mental diseases can also lead to chronic pain. This is why a particular person may need to avail of the services of a psychiatrist and psychologist.

The question now is: Do you know the difference between the two? Up to this moment, there are still several individuals who are confused with the distinction between the two professionals. In this article, we are going to shed some light on this matter.


What Is A Psychiatrist?

According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC, “A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health issues and has specific training in medication for depression.” A psychiatrist is a health practitioner or medical doctor. His specialization is concerning the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness. To become a licensed psychiatrist, he needs to go to a medical school for four years and complete internship for another year. After that, he must undergo specialized training in psychiatry for a period of at least three years.


What Is A Psychologist?

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A psychologist is a professional who has a doctoral degree in the field of psychology. He is engaged in the study of the behavior, personality, and mind. After completing the graduate school, he needs to complete an internship with a period of three or more years, depending on the specialization chosen. A psychologist is considered as an expert when it comes to handling emotional disorders and mental health conditions.


As already mentioned above, there are several distinctions between the two professionals. The psychiatrist has a license to write prescriptions for medications concerning mental disorders. On the other hand, the psychologist does not have the same authority. He is not allowed to provide for prescriptions or medical orders because he is not a medical doctor. Aside from this, the focus of a psychiatrist concerns medication management whereas for a psychologist, his focus is on providing counseling services or psychotherapy sessions.

“Counseling is an investment that requires commitment. You will be spending time, money, and emotional energy to process and/or solve problems.” –Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC

Who Is Better?

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Take note that there is no way of finding out whether a psychiatrist is better than a psychologist or the other way around. Keep in mind that they perform distinct functions. As such, the need to hire a particular professional depends on the existing circumstances of a patient’s case. As a standard practice, a specific patient is recommended to go to his family doctor first. The medical doctor will then examine his condition to determine whether there is a need to refer his case to a psychologist or psychotherapist. Remember that it is possible to approach two separate professionals when it comes to dealing with a mental disorder.

Keep in mind that you still have the option to select the professional whom you want to consult for your condition. The choice is still up to you. Remember, “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them.” Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT said. However, always remember that a psychiatrist completely differs from a psychologist. The smart thing to do is to go to both of them, especially if your condition is already serious.