What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Though the names sound similar, there is a big difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Whilst they both specialise in mental health, the way they conduct treatment is very different.

In simple terms, a psychologist will use talking therapies to remedy mental health conditions, whereas a psychologist uses medicine to treat mental health conditions. Whilst psychology focuses on the scientific study of the mind and how it impacts our behaviour, psychiatry is a branch of medicine that also centres around the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of emotional, mental and behavioural disorders. 

What does a psychologist do?

There are different types of psychologists, and the type of psychologist you encounter may depend on your needs. You could see a clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist, healthy psychologist, neuropsychologist, or perhaps another specialist. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are not able to administer medication to patients – instead, they rely solely on using therapy treatments. In general, most psychologists tend to use psychotherapy techniques to help patient symptoms. A psychologist may use psychotherapies such as: 

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal Therapy 
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) 
  • Supportive Therapy 

What does a psychiatrist do?

 Psychiatrists are doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. They are able to prescribe medication to treat people with mental health issues. However, they may also use psychotherapies and other treatments alongside medication. Some of the medications a psychiatrist may prescribe include: 

  • Antidepressants 
  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics
  • Mood stabilizers 
  • Stimulants 

Sometimes a psychiatrist may also use alternative treatments such as Electroconvulsive Therapy and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), these treatments may require certain technologies to work. 

Psychologists and Psychiatrists near you

Here at Medstars, we have a varied range of qualified professionals ready to help you. Some of our professionals include: 

Dr Alfred White

Dr White is an experienced consultant liaison psychiatrist, practising in Birmingham. He specialises in brain injury, neuropsychiatry, occupational health and PTSD.

Dr Satbinder Kaur Bhogal

Dr Bhogal specialises in relationship difficulties, self-esteem, trauma and attachment issues. She has years of experience working with adolescents and adults at the NHS coalface and takes pride in her sensitive and ethical approach to treating complex psychological problems in her private Birmingham clinic. To learn more about Medstars, browse our health specialists.

For any other queries, please get in touch with a member of our friendly team who will be happy to help with your private healthcare journey.

Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist

First Visit £150

Clinical Psychologist

First Visit £180

Medstars Medical Concierge Service

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