Psychiatrist vs Therapist: What's The Difference Between Them?
By: Julia Thomas
Updated September 08, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Sonya Bruner
Therapy can be a powerful ally to help you improve your well-being. With or without a mental health issue, a therapy can help empower you to live the life you want and foster better habits. Psychiatry is also a great option for medication management in addition to therapy. When it comes to mental health treatment, there are a handful of choices such as psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, and counselors.
Psychiatrist vs Therapist: Which Should You Choose?
When looking for a psychiatrist vs therapist, you should decide which kind of professional is most appropriate for your goals. Most people end up choosing between a psychiatrist vs therapist. This article will cover the differences between a psychiatrist vs therapist.
When considering psychiatrist vs therapist, you should know that a psychiatrist is a doctor who can treat and diagnose mental illness and can prescribe medication. A psychiatrist attends four years of medical school, completes one or two years of internship training, and takes on more than three years of special training as a psychiatrist resident. While psychiatrists don't always provide therapy, they prescribe medication as well as diagnose medical illnesses. Psychiatrists also determine the effects a mental condition can have on other medical issues. This can be particularly helpful if you feel like your mental health issues have taken a toll on your physical health. You may also want to know that it's common for another mental health professional to refer you to a psychiatrist to get a prescription for medication.
Therapist, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for occupations that can include counselors, psychologists, and psychotherapists. The term basically covers anyone who practices what's known as talk therapy.They are also a qualified mental health professional who has at least a master's degree, but a Ph.D. or M.D. is not required to practice therapy. This is helpful to keep in mind when deciding between a psychiatrist vs therapist.
Each U.S. state uses different terms to issue licenses. Depending on state law and licensure rules, therapists can diagnose, assess, and treat mental health disorders. Therapists can not write prescriptions for medication the way psychiatrists can, but they frequently collaborate with psychiatrists to ensure your treatment is cohesive. Because of this, it is quite common for someone to see a counselor before seeing a psychiatrist.
If you're reaching out for help, you're not alone. Close to one in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness, and people are becoming much more open about mental health. While we can't tell you which path is right for you, we can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Psychiatry Vs Therapist? How to Choose A Therapist Or Psychiatrist For Your Needs
- What is the issue you want to talk about or the specific problem you want help with?
- Do you prefer the idea of medication as a treatment path? Would you want a treatment that incorporates both medication and therapy? You now know that you will eventually need to consult with a psychiatrist or your primary care doctor if you want to consider medication. If you plan to incorporate a type of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, therapy is a good first step. Instead of considering psychiatrist vs therapist, you may want both.
- Psychiatrist vs therapist: If you're having family or relationship issues, attending specialized family therapy will provide you with detailed and experienced insight into relationship dynamics.
Differences in Appointment Structure
Psychiatrist vs therapist: most therapists, on the other hand, offer one-hour sessions. You can often work out shorter sessions with them if you have an extremely busy schedule or are in a financial crunch. The most common interval for these meetings is once a week. However, if you are doing well and prefer to check in occasionally, you might only see your therapist once or twice a month. Alternatively, some people see their therapist more than once a week for extra support during a mental health crisis.
Comparing Their Roles
A therapist is first and foremost a supportive figure. Although therapy may offer guidance, suggestions, and education about your problem, they don't make demands. Their main role is to assist you in working through your mental health issues and to provide suggestions on paths that may be helpful. As such, they may suggest homework including a book recommendation or habits to practice to help you continue your work between sessions. This homework can speed up progress dramatically.
A psychiatrist vs. therapist will likely make medication recommendations, check on the helpfulness of the medication, and talk with you about any problems that the medication may present for you. A psychiatrist will not always provide the emotional support that therapy would provide. However, this approach can be very helpful if you've moved past the therapist stage and are only using medication to manage your issues.
Cost of Treatment
Both psychiatrists and therapists will potentially refer you to the other party if they think you could benefit from this. For example, if you visit a therapist who notes your interest in medication, they may refer you to a doctor or psychiatrist for an evaluation to see if medication could ease your symptoms. If you see a psychiatrist first, they may determine that therapy is an essential part of your treatment plan, so they may refer you to therapy.
If you're still unsure about whether you should choose to see a therapist or a psychiatrist, it's important to remember the most important step is to just make an appointment with either one of them. You can speak with your medical doctor or make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist directly. If they feel another avenue might serve you better, they'll let you know.
Online Therapy With BetterHelp - See A Therapist Today
Therapy can help you learn decision-making techniques and allow you to practice these, which can have a helpful impact in many areas of life. The most important thing on the journey to wellness is to get started, regardless of where or how. With BetterHelp, you can access therapy from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection). BetterHelp's licensed therapists all possess at least three years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience.
Conclusion On Therapist Vs Psychiatrist
Talking to a therapist can be life-changing. No matter what you're experiencing, with the right tools, you can move forward to a truly fulfilling life. Take the first step with therapy today.
Previous ArticleThe Difference Between A Psychiatrist And Therapist: What History Shows Us
Next ArticleIs There Psychological Harm In Feeling Unappreciated?
Learn MoreWhat Is Online Therapy? About Online Counseling
Abuse ADHD Adolescence Alzheimer's Ambition Anger Anxiety Attachment Attraction Behavior Bipolar Body Dysmorphic Disorder Body Language Bullying Careers Chat Childhood Counseling Dating Defense Mechanisms Dementia Depression Domestic Violence Eating Disorders Family Friendship General Grief Guilt Happiness How To Huntington's Disease Impulse Control Disorder Intimacy Loneliness Love Marriage Medication Memory Menopause MidLife Crisis Mindfulness Monogamy Morality Motivation Neuroticism Optimism Panic Attacks Paranoia Parenting Personality Personality Disorders Persuasion Pessimism Pheromones Phobias Pornography Procrastination Psychiatry Psychologists Psychopathy Psychosis Psychotherapy PTSD Punishment Rejection Relationships Resilience Schizophrenia Self Esteem Sleep Sociopathy Stage Fright Stereotypes Stress Success Stories Synesthesia Teamwork Teenagers Temperament Tests Therapy Time Management Trauma Visualization Willpower Wisdom Worry
What Is Flooding? Psychology Of Coping With Trauma, Anxiety, Phobias, And OCD Is Guilt Different From Shame? Psychology Makes The Distinction Understanding the Psychology of Sex What Is Dissociation? Psychology, Definition And Treatments What Is Self-Efficacy? Psychology, Theory, And Applications What Is Introspection? Psychology, Definition, And Applications