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What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Telephone: 780.405.0447

Email: info@perspectivescounselling.ca

Telephone: 780.405.0447

Email: info@perspectivescounselling.ca

While psychologists and psychiatrists both conduct forms of psychotherapy and research, there are differences between the two professions. Both these professions are interested in mental health, but it is their approaches which make them different. The simplest answer lies in the educational background required for each profession. A psychiatrist has a degree in medicine and a psychologist has a masters or doctoral-level degree in psychology.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who go on to specialize in mental health and mental disorders. Psychiatrists often use medication to help their clients manage their mental disorders and there are some disorders for which medications are very necessary, such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.

A psychologist’s primary focus is on the client’s thoughts, feelings and general mental health. Psychologists have observed and measured human behaviour scientifically and have produced models and therapies based on this knowledge.

Another notable difference between these two professions is a psychologist is not able to write prescriptions, but may recommend a client be seen by a fellow psychiatrist in order to receive medications. Psychiatrists often refer patients to fellow psychologists to receive counseling and/or mental health therapy.

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