Psychologist Vs. Psychiatrist – Who’s Who?

4 minutes

“Please give me a medicine so that these thoughts go away and I can sleep”, asked a client in the session. It’s not something new for us anymore when our clients or people ask us to prescribe medications to them.

As a Psychologist neither do I have permission to prescribe medicine nor the knowledge but it’s very commonly misunderstood by people that Psychologist and Psychiatrist are same and both work in a similar way.

Today, let us increase our knowledge about it and see how these two areas are different yet similar:

Psychology vs. Psychiatry

Psychologist and Psychiatrist work in similar areas and their field is similar therefore a lot of times they are misunderstood in fact it overlaps but both of them are two different areas and their differences can be classified on the basis of-

  • Education
  • Treatment
  • Work and Approach

Education – 

We are often asked how did we manage medical school and did we study neurology as well?

All I can say here is I am a Psychologist and our education differs from that of a Psychiatrist.

A Psychiatrist is someone who attends a medical school and after attaining their MBBS, their specialization (MD) is in Psychiatry. Like any other doctor, they know a human body in and out along with the functioning of the brain and holds knowledge in drugs to be given to help any mental disturbances.

While, Psychologist holds a minimum of a Master’s degree in the field of Psychology. During their training they work intensively on gaining insight, understanding human behaviour, their  personality development, the history of psychological problems and the science of psychological research.

Treatment– 

Mrs Sheela is under medication for a serious mental health issue but side by side she also visits a rehab for some therapy which confuses her neighbour Mr Ashok. He has a question that if Mrs. Sheela is taking medication then why go for some other therapy?

Well, Psychology and Psychiatry works hand in hand a lot of times – these are not different lines of treatment but something which overlaps. Mrs. Sheela visits a Psychiatrist for medication so that her symptoms are in control and she can function better. On the other hand, her visit to rehab is for therapeutic sessions with a Psychologist, where her assessments such as personality, intelligence, etc. are tested. In addition, she also gets a place to ventilate and share what has been happening with her. She gets help with respect to behaviour modification.

Work and Approach– 

After seeing a Psychiatrist, a person can go to Psychologist likewise, after meeting a Psychologist a person can visit a Psychiatrist. It works both ways. Both of them works on lines of Psychotherapy while one works through medication– also handling physical symptoms – the other works more with behaviour and helping them in managing their day to day life and making them feel heard.

The aim of both is to PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE HELP.

Whom to talk to?          

As both works hand in hand and sometime for better functioning, intervention from both is required. It’s a good idea to visit both yet a lot of times one of them can handle the situation completely. For severe symptoms and physical symptom, it’s a good idea to consult a Psychiatrist. While a Psychologist can help you with more of emotional issues along with addiction, abuse, depression, or where you want someone to hear you out. Also, when you feel there is a need for training like in the case of Attention Deficient Disorder among kids or in case you have some issues with your spouse or your family members, you should visit a psychologist.

Most important is extending a helping hand to a person who is in need. The rest can be taken care of by the Psychiatrist or Psychologist.

If you are going through any kind of emotional distress, trauma, then don’t keep it to yourself. Do talk to a YourDOST counsellor or psychologist today.

Shaifali Verma

She is Masters in Counseling Psychology and also holds a Diploma in Life skills and Reproductive Health from Christ University.She is experienced in dealing with adolescent , relationship issues, transgenders and psychological trauma in relation to cancer and health issues.Shaifali believes in teamwork, effective communication and spreading & sharing smiles.There's one philosophy that she lives by - There's positivity in each and everyone of us, which when tapped and directed correctly, brings out the best in us.Through YourDOST she wishes to spread smiles by letting people share their burden, bring out their positive side and make them feel empowered.

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