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  #1  
Old 06-05-12, 05:59 PM
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What is the difference?

What's the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist? I know the question sounds like the beginning of a joke, but seriously.. what's the difference?
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Old 06-05-12, 06:05 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

Psychologist are therapists, and they can not prescribe drugs. They have not gone to medical school, usually they have a degree in psychology.

Psychiatrists prescribe drugs. They have gone to medical school. Some psychiatrists will do therapy as well, but most do not.
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  #3  
Old 06-05-12, 06:08 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

psychiatrist has undertaken medical training so has become an md and then taken specialisms in psychiatry..they can prescribe medications and diagnose a whole host of mental conditions and problems....(much more authority than a psychologist)
Psychologists have usually taken a degree in psychology and gained some clinical or educational practice, they work more with diagnosis and therapies (cbt, rebt etc)using models and testing instruments like WAIS IV etc they can't prescribe...brief difference
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Old 06-06-12, 08:31 AM
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Re: What is the difference?

Another way to put it:

Psychologists study thoughts, thinking patterns, internal conversation, motivations, subconscious, dreams, meaning, etc. Think Freud and Jung. How are these thought patterns responsible for psychological problems? How can we retrain people to follow follow positive and avoid negative "traps?" Thoughts aren't really concrete things that can be measure, but to an extent, we know how to manipulate them. In addition to thinking patterns, they tend to study communication and interaction.

Psychiatrists study cells, organs, chemicals, nervous system... how they all interact. They generally don't care about what you are thinking, except for when the thinking sheds some insight into if a medication is working, or if it gives them hints as to what, on a biological level isn't happening.

A psychiatrist is like a car mechanic that is looking for the underlying mechanical problem. A psychologist is like a friend that tells you that your car (which is held together by duct tape) looks fine and drives great; they might help you to find a better way to apply the duct tape or point out that the duct tape on your windshield is doing more harm than good.

If you have a chemical deficiency of some sort, a psychiatrist is needed.
If you have a flaw with your thinking, a psychologist is necessary.
Unfortunately, the two usually tend to go together which is why they tend to overlap and confuse people.
I family, or individual, with chemical deficiencies is more likely to have psychological baggage that must be sorted out.
Sometimes, just one or the other is needed.
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Old 06-06-12, 08:51 AM
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Re: What is the difference?

Ok, I'm thinking about going to a psychiatrist, What are your requirements for a psychiatrist? I've always seen MD's and PA's, but it's past time to see someone more qualified. I don't have insurance, so a psych taking patients without insurance is my top priority. What next? What do you look for in a psychiatrist?
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Old 06-06-12, 08:55 AM
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Re: What is the difference?

In terms of degrees, a psychiatrist has an MD with additional specialized training. A clinical psychologist typically has a PhD.
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Old 06-06-12, 08:01 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

In answer to your initial question, as others have said, the core difference is that psychiatrists are medical doctors, and can prescribe medications, and psychologists are not.

Beyond this, there's a great deal of individual variation, so while there are certainly traits, practices, and treatments that are more common with psychologists than psychiatrists and vice versa, you can't really generalize with accuracy.

For example, some psychiatrists are very medication-oriented, aren't particularly well-versed in therapy and psychological theories, and confine their practice to managing psychiatric medications and their side-effects.

Other psychiatrists (in my experience, particularly older psychiatrists) are steeped in psychoanalytic theory, and specialize in psychotherapy, viewing medication as a small part of their treatment plan.

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Originally Posted by *desperate* View Post
Ok, I'm thinking about going to a psychiatrist, What are your requirements for a psychiatrist? I've always seen MD's and PA's, but it's past time to see someone more qualified. I don't have insurance, so a psych taking patients without insurance is my top priority. What next? What do you look for in a psychiatrist?
If by "taking patients without insurance" you mean a psychiatrist who will accept payment by cash or check, that should be pretty much all of them. If you meant one that will see you for free without insurance, then unfortunately, your options will be very limited.

As credentials go, an MD (or DO) is actually the degree that all psychiatrists will have, though they may supervise nurse practioners or PAs who function as 'psychiatrists' for all intents and purposes. The only additional credential of any real weight would be board certification.

My experience with psychiatrists has been that I either work well with them or I don't, and it's hard to tell from their credentials or backgrounds which will be the case. I realize that's not terribly helpful. If you can find some with online reviews, that may provide some insight.

I will say that, largely by chance, for all of my adult life I've seen psychiatrists who do both therapy and medication, and like not having to make two appointments, and having one person handling both aspects in concert.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-12, 09:30 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

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Originally Posted by AbsentMindProf View Post
In terms of degrees, a psychiatrist has an MD with additional specialized training. A clinical psychologist typically has a PhD.
I see a clinical psychologist as someone with a Doctoral degree in Psychology. They would have PsyD next to their name.

Those with PhD.'s are trained more in the research of their field of interest. You would find someone with a PhD. teaching at a four year college/university. Although, I know someone with a PhD., practicing as a clinician.

I'm not sure how someone with a PhD. could be qualified to practice clinical psychology.

Psychiatrists can also be DO's (sorry to get technical-I have two doctors and two nurses in my family). Psychiatrists, in the U.S. also have to go through a four-year residency program, which trains them to use the knowledge they gained in med school.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:56 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

Quote:
I will say that, largely by chance, for all of my adult life I've seen psychiatrists who do both therapy and medication, and like not having to make two appointments, and having one person handling both aspects in concert.
Me, too.
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Old 06-07-12, 06:23 AM
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Re: What is the difference?

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I see a clinical psychologist as someone with a Doctoral degree in Psychology. They would have PsyD next to their name.

Those with PhD.'s are trained more in the research of their field of interest. You would find someone with a PhD. teaching at a four year college/university. Although, I know someone with a PhD., practicing as a clinician.

I'm not sure how someone with a PhD. could be qualified to practice clinical psychology.
Sorry, but you're mistaken. Most clinical psychology graduate programs offer the PhD degree. A few offer the PsyD degree but it's less common.

The training in a PhD graduate program depends entirely on the focus of the training within the program. A clinical psychology PhD program (of which there are a great many in the US) offers training related to both research and clinical practice but the focus of the training is on clinical practice and obtaining the qualifications needed for licensure. Obtaining a license to practice as a clinical psychologist depends on 1.) Completing a doctoral degree (it could be PhD or PsyD) in a graduate program designated as licensure preparing. The institution granting the degree must be accredited. 2) You must complete an internship during which you obtain a great deal of clinical experience 3) You must pass the licensing exam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trainin..._psychologists

http://www.asppb.net/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

I know a great many clinical psychologists that are in private practice and all but one of them have PhDs (there is one PsyD).
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Old 06-07-12, 11:08 AM
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Re: What is the difference?

one's got an MD, the other has a PhD
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Old 06-07-12, 12:41 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouslyadd View Post
I see a clinical psychologist as someone with a Doctoral degree in Psychology. They would have PsyD next to their name.

Those with PhD.'s are trained more in the research of their field of interest. You would find someone with a PhD. teaching at a four year college/university. Although, I know someone with a PhD., practicing as a clinician.

I'm not sure how someone with a PhD. could be qualified to practice clinical psychology.

Psychiatrists can also be DO's (sorry to get technical-I have two doctors and two nurses in my family). Psychiatrists, in the U.S. also have to go through a four-year residency program, which trains them to use the knowledge they gained in med school.
All psychologists have to have a PhD, if they don't they cannot call themselves a psychologist nor practice as one. People can have a bachelors in psychology but cannot "practice" and hence would not be a psychologist. That is how I understand it, as told to me by a psychologist.

If anyone has knowledge contrary to this please share.

But as stated many times a psychiatrist holds a medical degree prior to their extra training. As with any doctor there is a wide spectrum of abilities within any specialty, some really good ones, some good ones and some bad ones. As they say, "Do you know what you call someone that graduates last in their class in medical school?" "Doctor"

Unfortunately the only way to find a good one is trial and error.

On a side note has everyone ever noticed that their psychiatrists are always a little "off"? Everyone I have had, with the exception of my last one, has always had some weird personality traits. I guess you have to be a little "off" to take on a job of trying to fix all the broken people out there.
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Old 06-07-12, 06:12 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

I prefer to have my medication and my counseling seperated. I feel that this allows me to be more honest and open in counseling.

ADHD is not a mood disorder, it is a neurological disorder- like narcolepsy. Therefore, I prefer to have a neurologist treat my ADHD. Any psycholgical issues that I need addressed are not treated by my medication, so I see a clinical psychologist for that.


Quote:
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On a side note has everyone ever noticed that their psychiatrists are always a little "off"? Everyone I have had, with the exception of my last one, has always had some weird personality traits. I guess you have to be a little "off" to take on a job of trying to fix all the broken people out there.
I have never met a psychiatrist that I really felt comfortable with- they all seem like nut jobs to me. I don't view myself as broken, perhaps that is why. I LOVE my neurologist.
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  #14  
Old 06-07-12, 07:19 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

I think it's probably worth pointing out that reason people are giving different information on the degree requirements for psychologists is likely due to the fact that there *are* different requirements in different states, and I'd imagine, different countries.

In New York State, for example, the degree requirement for psychology is as follows:

Quote:
Education: have received an education, including a doctoral degree in psychology, granted on the basis of completion of a program of psychology registered with the department or
So, any doctoral degree will qualify (Ph.D, Psy.D, Ed.D, etc.), provided it's a degree in psychology.

But, there are exceptions, such as this one:

Quote:
Nothing in this article shall be construed to affect or prevent:
  1. The activities, services, and use of the title of psychologist, or any derivation thereof, on the part of a person in the employ of a federal, state, county or municipal agency, or other political subdivision, or a chartered elementary or secondary school or degree-granting educational institution insofar as such activities and services are a part of the duties of his salaried position.
http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/psych/article153.htm

The upshot of which is that a "school psychologist" may not have a doctorate.

In Vermont, however, a master's degree may be enough to qualify as a psychologist, if the other requirements are met: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/...26&Chapter=055

My understanding is that in the vast majority of states in the U.S., however, a doctorate is required to use the title "psychologist".

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Old 06-07-12, 07:20 PM
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Re: What is the difference?

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Originally Posted by Man w/ADD View Post
On a side note has everyone ever noticed that their psychiatrists are always a little "off"? Everyone I have had, with the exception of my last one, has always had some weird personality traits. I guess you have to be a little "off" to take on a job of trying to fix all the broken people out there.
I met a few while I was doing tech support for a medicine faculty. Most specialities had some oddballs but the psychiatrist group were *all* oddballs. Some very nice oddballs to be sure, but it kinda felt like stepping into a parallel universe in their office.
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