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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGIST AND PSYCHIATRIST

Theoshaphat and Garima

Variations among Psychologists and Psychiatrists
People often get gripped by the state of indecision between two words i.e. Psychologist and Psychiatrist; be it for seeking help for mental health issues or charting a career roadmap. Psychologists and Psychiatrists are always misinterpreted to be the same. This article highlights the difference between these two professionals.
 

Who is a Psychologist & Psychiatrist?

A Psychologist is a trained professional who works in the domain of mental health and other areas too. They are well versed in understanding the human mind and behavior. Whereas, a Psychiatrist is a medical professional with a specialization in psychiatry, who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

How Psychologists and Psychiatrists are Different?

Psychologists and Psychiatrists work cooperatively in the same domain but their work setting is different. They both have a sound understanding of the workings of the brain, emotions, thoughts, and their disorders. They share a common goal of improving the psychological well-being of individuals but differ largely in their academic background and mode of intervention.
Also read, Difference Between Clinical and Counseling Psychology.

Difference in Qualification




To become a Psychologist, one must possess a Master's in psychology or allied fields. And, to practice as a clinical psychologist one must have an M.Phil in clinical psychology. One can also get a doctoral degree, a Ph.D., or PsyD in any area of specialization. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Licensure: As per the Mental Health Care Act 2017, only those with an MPhil degree in Clinical Psychology from an RCI recognized Institute is licensed to practice as a clinical psychologist.

Whereas, to become a Psychiatrist, one has to earn a Bachelor's in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). After a bachelor's one can take MD in psychiatry or DPM or DNB Psychiatry to be a recognized psychiatrist.

Licensure: Psychiatrists are licensed to practice by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

 

Differences in Intervention and Practice

Psychologists use psychotherapy as an intervention. They perform psychological assessments and therapies for diagnosing and treating a patient. They work in Hospitals, Clinics, Schools, Corporate sectors, Prison, Rehabilitation centres, etc.

Psychologists are not authorized to prescribe medicines.



Psychiatrists are physicians trained to diagnose and treat severe mental disorders, primarily by prescription of medicines. They are employed at Psychiatric hospitals, Private practice, Clinics, Rehabilitation centres, etc.

Only psychiatrists are authorized to prescribe medicines.

 
A psychiatrist can refer a patient to a psychologist for psychotherapy and a psychologist can refer to a psychiatrist for severe mental disorders requiring medications. 
There are many differences and also similarities between these two professions. But, both the professionals work in association and have the same objective of 'helping people' with mental health issues.
 

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