© 2019 Professional Psychology Service

What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in the treatment of mental illnesses, particularly those such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Psychiatrists usually prescribe medication such as anti-depressants or anti-psychotics as part of their treatment.

Psychologists are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication. Psychologists have usually trained for 6-8 years and can have a Masters or Doctorate in Psychology with an arts or science background. They have special training in conducting assessments using psychometric instruments, and in providing treatments.

Psychological treatment typically involves ‘talking therapies’ designed to help people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, stress and work-related problems, life transitions and also people who have a been diagnosed with a mental illness. Depending upon what the issue is, some people will see both a psychologist and psychiatrist at the same time.