Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

Although in some cases, people use the terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” to describe qualified individuals who provide therapy services to individuals with mental and behavioral problems, the truth is that these terms designate two different types of professionals. Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

In general, both psychologists and psychiatrists conduct psychotherapy and research, but there are some important differences between the two professions.

A psychiatrist is a doctor and a psychologist is not. Therefore, academic training is the most obvious difference between these professionals.

PSYCHOLOGIST  Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist

A psychologist can receive graduate training in psychology and obtain credentials, either a doctorate in psychology. Psychology professionals have experience in clinical or counseling psychology. Their doctoral programs generally last 5 to 7 years and in some cases an additional 1 or 2 years of internship, in order to obtain the license to practice their profession.

The title of “psychologist” is mostly used by qualified individuals, who have completed education, training, and been licensed by the state. Sometimes there are other informal titles like “counselor” or “therapist” that can also refer to psychologists. However, other mental health professionals, such as licensed social workers; They may also call themselves therapists or counselors.


On the other hand, psychiatrists are doctors who are trained in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychological or mental problems. They attend medical school and complete medical training upon obtaining a doctorate. In addition, they must dedicate 4 years of residency in mental health centers. Psychiatry is also divided into many areas, including geriatric psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry; among other addictions and areas of mental health.

When it comes to prescribing drugs for patients with serious mental health problems, the psychiatrist can prescribe drugs, while the psychologist cannot.

Key differences 

  • The psychiatrist is a doctor, while a psychologist is not.
  • The academic preparation of a psychiatrist is greater than that of a psychologist.
  • The psychiatrist is authorized to prescribe drugs to patients who need them, on the other hand, the second one cannot do such a thing.

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