Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Apr 12, 2015 5:48 PM

Dr. Jackie's Mental Health Moment[

Recently, an article in a newspaper, for which no one ever interviewed me, so the info was from an attorney about a case and, therefore, third-hand, called me a psychiatrist. Once in a while, I do get a phone call, also looking for a psychiatrist. My friends mentioned that they saw the misinformation and an erratum later. However, someone who obviously doesn't like me, or maybe herself?, sarcastically asked, "So you're a psychiatrist now? That takes a lot more education....." (I'm may not have the exact wording.) Anyway, I explained that it was a misprint and psychologists generally have a doctorate in psychology, while psychiatrists have a medical degree. She stopped me and we ceased to converse.

However, I feel stimulated to explain more for all those of you, and it's very common, who confuse the two professions. They are certainly related  and usually work well together.The psychiatrist learns psychology from practice during residency mostly and knows more about the body and diseases and medications than the psychologist. The psychiatrist prescribes medication and may or may not treat with therapy. The psychologist, on the other hand, has spent more years studying psychology than the psychiatrist and knows many evaluation procedures which the psychiatrist does not  plus learning from experience during clinical courses and interships.While some psychologists now are certified to prescribe medications, too, that is rare.  However, they do learn about medications enough to consult with medical doctors about that aspect of patient care.

In any case, the psychiatrist is a medical doctor who deals with psychological problems and mental illness. The psychologist is a doctor of psychology who deals with psychological problems and mental illness, who usually does not prescribe medication.

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