Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

Our mental health is precious. How we feel, how we think, and how we make decisions are all anchored on our mental wellness. Mental health imbalance may result in a person’s inability to make a sound judgment. When sound judgment is not present, this triggers and results in all sorts of problems. At times, people become confused about how to best deal with their mental health issues. Though people are aware of existing mental health professionals like psychologists or psychiatrists, confusion exists in their roles. Continue to read to learn more about when to see a Psychologist vs a Psychiatrist.


What’s the difference?

To create a valid differentiation, let us explain the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Though both are in the service of helping people cope with their mental health problems, each has its own pros and cons. The information below may help you distinguish one from the other. It may also help you choose the best option for you when it comes to finding help.


When to see a Psychologist?

Accordingly, there are reasons for us to extend our arms towards getting help if we want to talk about our problems. There are friends with who we can confide. However, we should also consider that not all friends are interested in our problems. If and when we choose to talk to a friend about our issues, we must choose wisely. Not all friends can give us the best advice, especially if they have never had the problem or problems we currently face. Sure, our friends may be a good source of sympathy, and they know us well but they are not professionally trained.

A psychologist has had a minimum of 6 years of academic training at the university and or supervision. A psychologist is trained in how people think, feel and behave. Normally, psychologists hold either a Masters or a Doctorate degree in psychology. This qualifies them to be able to give the best in talking therapies. However, psychologists do more than just talking therapy. They have professional training to diagnose mental illness, assess learning abilities, and work in organizations and schools.

If you do not wish to talk to your family or friends about what’s bothering you, consider seeing a psychologist. Psychologists offer exclusivity and confidentiality. Medicare offers a rebate that can subsidise or fully cover the cost of seeing a psychologist.

A psychologist can also offer professional assistance while we try to sort through issues that weigh us down. However, a psychologist is not who you want to see if you wish to take medication for mental wellbeing. For medication or scripts, we will need the help of a psychiatrist or doctor.

If you are wondering how to find the right Psychologist, this video will help with that.


When to see a Psychiatrist?

Confusion about the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is raised by callers to Epsychiatry all the time. This is understandable as there is overlap between the work psychologists and psychiatrists do. For example, both psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose mental illness.

However, psychologists are more focused on talking therapies and cannot write scripts for medication. Hence, a psychiatrist is needed especially if scripts and medication are needed.

Psychiatrists are doctors and hold a medical degree. Thus, their ability to be able to write scripts. Psychiatrists have about 11 years of education and training. To become a psychiatrist, they must finish medical school and then spends another 5 years working intensively in a variety of mental health settings.

Psychiatrists have the ability to check a patient’s physical health which may be a cause of his or her mental health illness. Psychiatrists can also offer to talk therapy, but if talking therapy is all a person wants to do then it is probably best to see a psychologist. A psychiatrist can prescribe some mental health medications that a GP would not be able to prescribe alone. Given their expertise, people see a psychiatrist when they have not responded to initial treatment from their GP.

It is best to see a psychiatrist for severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD or any other mental illness that require medication alongside talking therapy. This is especially true for severe mental health illnesses with a complex physical health component. If a person has attempted or contemplating suicide, a psychiatrist service is advisable and appropriate.

If you need help with how to see a Psychiatrist in Australia, check out the following video.


Can a Psychologist and Psychiatrist work together?

Yes, in some cases, this is an option. A psychiatrist and a psychologist can at times work together on a case. Both are an integral part of a hospital and community based mental health care. A psychiatrist can professionally diagnose a person’s mental illness and commence them on treatment. A psychiatrist can then refer a patient to a psychologist if focused talking therapy is more suitable.

If you are still undecided as to who you should see, whether it be a psychiatrist or a psychologist, we’d recommend seeing your GP. Your family doctor can help you figure out whom to see, a psychologist vs psychiatrist. The bottom line is that psychiatrists and psychologists are two types of professionals who specialize in mental health care. Though there are similarities and differences in each role, both are vital in helping people who wish to secure assistance when it comes to their mental health and well-being. Both can treat a variety of mental health conditions but in their own respective limitations. Here at Epsychiatry, you can get in touch with both Psychiatrists and Psychologists for quality caring ongoing treatment.

Furthermore, there is a range of health professionals who offer different types of services and treatments for different mental health conditions. These include social workers who undergone further training in mental health and occupational therapists.

In sum, a psychiatrist can use a mix of therapy and medication while a psychologist is focused on providing various types of talking therapy. We hope this article helped you understand the differences between Psychologist and Psychiatrist. Contact your GP so that you may be guided as to what is best for you and your mental well-being. You can also speak with our friendly support team who can help point you in the right direction.