Psychologist Vs Psychiatrist: Understanding The Difference

When it comes to treating your mental health, you will typically need to choose between the services of a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The problem is, if you are like most people, you may not fully understand the difference between these two mental health professionals. Consequently, you may find it quite difficult to select the professional that is able to best meet your particular needs.

Understanding the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist can be a bit more difficult than understanding the different roles that other professionals play. This is because both psychologists and psychiatrists treat patients with a wide variety of mental health disorders. Furthermore, both of these professionals are qualified to treat patients with severe mental health problems and to conduct research in the area of mental health diagnosis and treatment. With so many similarities, it is not hard to understand why so many people mistakenly assume that these mental health professionals are one in the same. However, despite these similarities, there are a few key differences that separate these two professions.

-iatry Vs -logy

Psychologists practice what is known as psychology, while psychiatrists practice what is known as psychiatry. In order to fully understand the difference between these two areas of study, you will need to first understand the suffix which is used by each profession.

The suffix "-iatry" which is used by psychiatrists means medical treatment. Therefore, psychiatry refers to the medical treatment of mental illness.

The suffix "-logy" which is used by psychologists means science of. Therefore, psychology is the science of mental illness.

Medical School Vs Graduate School

Another key difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is the education which each profession requires. Since psychiatrists focus on the medical treatment of mental illness, these professionals will be required to graduate from a med school program, as well as completing a medical internship program. Upon completion, these professionals will receive a medical license and therefore be granted the privilege of prescribing prescription medications.

Rather than attending medical school, psychologists will need to complete a graduate degree program that can last anywhere from 5-7 years depending upon the university that they choose to attend. The focus of this educational program will be on the academic or scientific aspect of mental health. Upon completing this program, psychologists will typically be required to complete an internship program in their field of study before they will be able to apply for a license to practice psychology. Even after receiving this license, physiologists are not typically given the right to prescribe medication unless they have also obtained a medical license.

For more information, contact Sojourn Wellness Group Psychologist or a similar organization.


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