Friday, 24 May 2013
What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
By Private Therapy Clinic
The question I most often get asked is what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist
It is easy to understand why people get confused between the two as they both sound like the same thing and psychiatrists and psychologists often work together!
So let me try to explain. I am a psychiatrist. I went to a medical school and trained in all sorts of medical things from cardiology to dermatology and when I became a doctor I had to do a few years working in surgery and general medicine in hospitals and A&E.
After that it was decision time. Did I want to be a GP, a surgeon, a neurologist?
Well I knew that I had very much enjoyed working with psychiatric patients and people who were suffering from mental health problems. Mental health illness is very common and all sorts of interesting people cross your path, so I then applied to train as a psychiatrist for the next 6 years.
At the end of the 6 years you officially become a specialist in psychiatry and you prescribe medication when patients need it such as anti depressant or mood stabiliser medication for example.
I can run tests just like any other doctor would, including head scans and blood tests to check that there is no underlying physical illness that is causing psychiatric problems, for example depression can be caused by a thyroid problem so as a doctor I want to rule these things out.
Very often I find that the underlying cause for someone’s problems might be because of experiences they have been through or their feelings or behaviours are causing them to have difficulties. In that case I immediately look to find a psychologist to see them and treat them with therapies. Often this maybe CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy which the research shows is a very effective form of treatment for many people. I work closely with psychologist Dr Becky Spelman and her team of psychologists at Private Therapy Clinic when considering which psychological therapy may be most suitable for a particular client.
A psychologist will have a degree in psychology from University and then go on to further clinical training for several years in approved training. Once they are fully qualified in the therapy they studied they can see patients and work with patients on a one-to-one basis. They cannot prescribe medication and do not run health checks but they are also called Drs as they graduate with a doctorate from university. Confusing I know!
Often people with a rudimentary knowledge of these thing may tell you that if you want medication go to see a psychiatrists and if you want to just talk to someone go and see a psychologist, but this is far too simplistic, I often do not want to prescribe medication for my patients, but I do want to talk to them and assess their difficulties and psychologists do far more than just talk to help the client.
Ultimately we all just want to help people improve their lives, get better from their mental illness and recover and get back to enjoyable highly functioning lives.
I hope this has been a helpful explanation and if you have more any further questions just pick up the phone and give The Private Therapy Clinic a call on 020 81507563 on book in online here.