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Discover the Difference Between Psychologists and Psychiatrists

If you are considering mental health care options, you should know the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists.

Choosing to seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist can often be overwhelming for the person in need of mental health services. Many psychiatrists do not offer all the services that people are seeking.

Because many psychiatrists do not work in the specialized areas of treatment that people need, it can become confusing as to which services psychiatrists provide vs. psychologists.

When people are searching for mental health care treatment optioPsychologists ns, they often do not want to have to search among numerous psychiatrists, each with different services, waiting to find out if they will be able to treat their needs.

This type of situation can quickly become frustrating and can even cause the person who is seeking mental health care to lose interest and give up the idea of getting the help they need.

So What is the Difference Between Psychologists and Psychiatrists?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists must complete four years of medical school after earning their bachelor’s degree, and then serve another 4-year residency in the psychiatric field.

Psychologists earn their bachelor’s degree and then continue to doctoral-level training. They do not go through medical school, but rather pursue a Ph.D. or a PsyD. A PsyD has a stronger focus on clinical training and behavioral therapy treatment and a Ph.D. focuses more on research.

The main difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists are medically trained in the diagnosis of physical and mental diseases, and treatment with prescription medications

Most psychiatrists work in private offices. To ensure that a psychiatrist treats all the individuals in his or her office with a high level of care, the patient and his or her family or friends should be involved in the process of selecting a psychiatrist.

Having the patient’s close friends and family members be part of the selection committee can prove to be greatly beneficial. With this approach and the support of the patient’s loved ones, the mental health professional will always be able to receive feedback on the progress of the individual’s therapy.

If a psychiatrist is willing to stay in communication with those family members and close friends, this also indicates that the professional cares about his or her patients.  Often, the person seeking mental health services needs the encouragement and support of those closest to them.

In addition to the services that a psychiatrist provides through his or her private office, a psychiatrist may also refer the patient to alternative specialty services if the individual feels that his or her treatment methods are not working. For instance, a patient might benefit from group counseling.  A good psychiatrist will be able to make the appropriate referrals.

To avoid spending additional money for the services of a psychiatrist who offers specialty services, many patients turn to a psychologist who may be able to provide appropriate services for the individual. Because many psychologists are trained in a variety of behavioral treatment methods, they can offer a wide range of effective care solutions.

In conclusion, the main difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists are trained medical doctors who prescribe medications. They spend much of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment.

Psychologists are a little different because they focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention. Patients often benefit the most from both services combined.


One way to make sure that a psychiatrist offers the services that will meet all your needs is to make an appointment to meet with him or her personally.

Whichever course of treatment is right for you, Riverview CMHC is here to help.

Contact us today. We have offices in Stuart and Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Stuart, FL office  772-266-4713

Port Saint Lucie, FL office at 772-301-1354