What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health, and often work together.
However, there are some significant differences between the two professions. While some psychologists specialise in treating people with a mental illness, psychologists also often help mentally healthy people find ways of functioning better.
In contrast, psychiatrists mainly treat people with a mental illness such as schizophrenia.
Furthermore, psychologists are trained in understanding human behaviour at university before undertaking supervised experience and gaining registration. They do not have a medical degree like psychiatrists, which involves six years of studying general medicine, followed by further study to specialise in psychiatry.
Psychologists may, however, study for a similar number of years to specialise in various aspects of psychology such as educational or clinical psychology.
Finally, psychologists, unlike psychiatrists, cannot prescribe medication. Their treatments are based on changing behaviour without medication.
There is a considerable amount of evidence showing that psychological treatments are effective.