Unfortunately, far too many people have to navigate their everyday lives while also dealing with mental or emotional illnesses. It takes such a tremendous toll on the quality of their lives, as well as the lives of the people around them. On the good side of the ledger, the mental health treatment community is filled with educated professionals who are always ready to do what’s necessary to make a difference.
Throughout the years, we have all learned the importance of maintaining good mental and physical health. We all have an obligation to look after ourselves and our family members to ensure we can experience the best lives possible. No one can do it alone because dealing with mental and emotional illnesses is a very complicated process.Read More »
The Difference Between A Therapist, Psychologist And Psychiatrist
As the world continues to deal with the repercussions of the recent COVID pandemic, the associated lockdowns are harming too many people to count. In the coming months and maybe years, the need for mental health treatment services will likely continue to rise.
The people who are going to be giving this treatment will be therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. At some level, the social worker community might also have a role to play in the treatment process.
The list of illnesses people are dealing with seems endless. It ranges from simpler things like headaches and sleep disturbances to more significant mental illnesses that revolve around depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Addiction is also becoming a significant issue throughout the world. For all of these issues and more, there is always a level of treatment that seems more appropriate.
Keeping in mind that there is an additional cost at each rung on the treatment hierarchy, it’s important for everyone who needs help to get the best help possible without overspending.
To better explain the difference between therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, a description of each discipline would seem to be in order. If you are looking for help for a mental or emotional health issue, this information can serve as your guide to making the best choice. With said, it’s always possible you will start at one level only to receive a recommendation to seek another level to address very specific issues. If you need help with the selection process, you can always start by visiting your primary care physician.
Therapists make up a broad group of treatment professionals. They include social workers, family and marriage counselors, addiction counselors, and clinical counselors. Most people in these professions carry the appropriate licensing, thought some counselors do counseling with certification from a government board.
At a minimum, therapists generally need a college degree in sociology and or psychology. Many of these treatment professionals will also obtain master-level degrees, having attended a two-year graduate school program.
The level of education and training determines the kinds of treatment options certain groups of therapists can provide. Most of them are perfectly comfortable providing treatment in both individual and group settings.
For the most part, a therapist is like a coping coach. They work with their patients on dealing with day to day issues that may or may not involve deeper mental or emotional issues. If a therapist gets a sense that a patient has true psychological or cognitive difficulties, they might recommend such a patient seek additional care from a psychologist.
A psychologist will generally focus on the treatment of a wider range of mental and emotional illnesses. Through education, they have more in-depth knowledge about the brain and how it functions. They also have the training necessary to identify serious issues like PTSD, schizophrenia, and dissociative personality disorders, etc.
A psychologist will generally start with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and or Psychology. At the advanced education level, almost all psychologists will have a doctor of philosophy or doctor of psychology degree.
Psychologists are very proficient with behavioral therapies. They deal a lot with mood and personality disorders, which require clinical interviews and comprehensive psychological evaluations. With the right diagnosis, a psychologist will work to identify and modify psychological behaviors.
Sometimes, a psychologist will recognize that a patient might need certain medications to help with their issues. In such cases, the psychologist will recommend additional treatment from a psychiatrist.
Unlike a therapist or psychologist, a psychiatrist’s primary education focus will be on medicine. These are people who have completed the necessary education and training to earn a license as a medical doctor. However, they will take things one step further to also complete psychiatric training.
As indicated above, psychologists and psychiatrists often work together. While a psychologist will focus more on psychological treatment through therapy, a psychiatrist will intervene by prescribing psychiatric medications to help patients manage their psychological problems.
That’s not to say psychiatrists don’t get involved with the therapeutic process because they do. However, a psychiatrist usually costs more than a psychologist, making it more sensible for a given patient to handle their medication needs through a psychiatric while relying on a psychologist for therapy.
Hopefully, you will find this information useful. In the days ahead as you cope with the stress caused by life and outside influences like COVID lockdowns, it’s incumbent on you to seek help when you need it. You should feel no shame from the fact you are dealing with a mental or emotional illness. You are not alone in the world. By getting the help you need, you will find your life more manageable and enjoyable.
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