The four main differences between Psychiatrists & Clinical Psychologists are
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors but clinical psychologists are not
- Psychiatrists prescribe medication, clinical psychologists can’t
- Psychiatrists tend to treat mental or more serious illness whereas clinical psychologists treat less serious illness
- You need a referral from your general practitioner to see a psychiatrist while you don’t need any referral for a clinical psychologist
There is often a confusion that arises with reference to differences between psychiatrists & clinical psychologists.
Both of them understand the importance of mental health and have a good understanding of how the brain works our emotions, feelings & thoughts. Clinical psychology is a clinical trial science Both could treat mental illnesses with clinically proven psychological treatments. But the major difference is that psychiatrists attend medical school and become doctors before doing specialist studies in mental health. Being doctors they have a good understanding of the mental & physical problems and have the right to prescribe medicines accordingly.
The main differences relate to the following things
- Treatments provided
- Conditions tested
- Getting an appointment
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with at least 11 years of training whereas psychologists have at least 6 yrs of university training & supervised experience. Clinical psychologists have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Psychiatrists provide with a wide range of treatments and these include
- General medical care
- Psychological treatments
- Brain Stimulation therapies
Clinical Psychologists focus on providing psychological treatments
Psychiatrists treat people who need their medical, psychological & social needs considered. They treat more complex conditions like severe depression, schizophrenia & bi polar disorder
Clinical Psychologists help people with psychological problems like behavioral problems, learning difficulties, depression & anxiety.
So basically for better treatment analysis and conduct, psychiatrists & psychologists often work together. A psychiatrist makes the initial assessment & diagnosis & then refers to a psychologist for the patient’s ongoing psychological treatment. Also they work as a team in hospitals as a part of mental health teams.