Home » Psychiatric And Psychological Services. Let’s Compare

Psychiatric And Psychological Services. Let’s Compare

by Melissa Bell
5 minutes read

In today’s society, it is vital to have access to quality psychiatric and psychological services. However, there is a lot of confusion about the difference between psychiatric and psychological Services. This article will compare and contrast psychiatric and psychological services so that you can make an informed decision about which type of service is right for you.

Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

A psychologist is someone who has completed a doctoral degree in psychology. They are trained to help people deal with their emotions and behaviors, as well as to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Psychologists typically work in private practice, although some also work in hospitals or schools.

Social worker talking to teenage girl. Psychological assistance in adolescence

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. They have completed a medical degree and have additional training in psychiatry, which focuses on diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and may also provide therapy.

However, psychologists and psychiatrists are both mental health professionals who assess, diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders. However, there are several key differences between the two professions.

Education And Training

As all the fields require proper training after education for professional jobs and performing righteous duties. These two professions also need extensive training as their work is way more complicated than an engineer’s. If an engineer causes trouble, it will cause problems in the software, but if a psychologist or a psychiatrist makes an issue the problem will be in the human mind and in turn body. There are also some key differences in the education, specialization and training of both fields, that are identified below.


Psychologists typically have a doctoral degree in psychology, which takes an average of 5 to 7 years to complete. Coursework includes classes in human development, social and personality psychology, research methods, and psychopathology. During their internship, they must complete a 1-year full-time placement providing psychological services. After completing their doctoral degree, psychologists must pass a state licensure exam to practice.


In contrast, psychiatrists must first complete a 4-year medical degree followed by a 3 or 4-year residency in psychiatry. During their psychiatry residency, they complete coursework and clinical rotations in areas such as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, substance abuse, and psychotherapy. In addition, residents must complete a 1-month rotation in an emergency room or inpatient unit. After completing their residency, psychiatrists must take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination before they can practice.

While both psychologists and psychiatrists receive extensive training in diagnosing and treating mental disorders, psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication.

In addition, psychiatrists may provide more medical services than psychologists, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). As a result of these differences in training and scope of practice, patients may find that one type of mental health professional is a better fit for their needs than the other.

Psychiatric And Psychological Services

Another difference is in the services each profession provides. Psychologists typically provide talk therapy, which can help patients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Psychiatrists may also provide talk therapy, but they also can prescribe medication to treat mental disorders. In addition, psychiatrists can order lab tests and brain imaging studies, which can be used to diagnose psychiatric conditions.

Some Psychiatrist practices include:

  • Inpatient mental health services
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication management
  • Hospitalization

Some Psychological Services are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Support groups

Overall, psychologists and psychiatrists are both mental health professionals who can assess, diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders. However, there are several key differences between the two professions in terms of training, services provided, and education received.

Making A Decision

When choosing between psychiatric and psychological services, it is important to consider your needs and preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:

Consider Your Illness and Need

Do you have a mental illness that requires medication? If so, you will need to see a psychiatrist. If you are dealing with emotional or behavioral issues, you may benefit from seeing a psychologist.

Consider The Focus of The Services

Psychiatric services specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses, while psychological services specialize in helping people deal with their emotions and behaviors.

Consider The Training of The Providers

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have additional training in psychiatry, while psychologists have completed a doctoral degree in psychology.

Consider Your Comfort Level with The Providers

Psychiatrists often work in hospitals or clinics, while psychologists typically work in private practice. This can be an important distinction for some people.

Consider Your Budget

Psychiatric services may be more expensive than psychological services, as psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

Consider What You Hope to Gain from Treatment

If you are seeking treatment for a mental illness, then psychiatric services may be a better fit for you. If you are seeking help with your emotions and behaviors, then psychological services may be a better fit for you.

Certification And Permission Needed to Provide Psychiatric Services

To become a practicing psychiatrist, one must complete several years of medical school and residency training. After completing medical school, psychiatrists must obtain a state medical license to practice. In addition, psychiatrists who wish to specialize in a particular area of psychiatry may need to obtain additional certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Psychiatrists who wish to prescribe medication must also obtain a DEA license. While certification and licensing requirements vary by state, all psychiatrists must complete extensive training in order to practice. As a result, patients can be confident that their psychiatrist has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to decide which type of mental health professional is right for you. Hopefully, this article has helped clarify some of the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists. Both have unique areas of expertise and offer different services, so it’s important to do your research before deciding who will help you manage your mental health. If you still have questions after reading this article, please follow our blog for more helpful information about psychiatric and psychological services or contact us directly for advice on how to find the best care for you.

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