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Psychologist or Psychiatrist-What's the Difference?

A psychologist is a mental health professional with a doctorate degree in psychology and extensive training in their area(s) of specialization. A psychiatrist is a mental health professional with a medical degree and extensive training in pharmacotherapy of mental illness.

A licensed psychologist has both a doctoral degree with specialized training in clinical psychology and a license to practice psychotherapy and provide psychological services (like psychotherapy and psychological testing). We are not physicians and unless we have specific training in psychopharmacology, we do not prescribe medicine. Licensed psychologists treat a wide range of mental health issues, disorders, and illnesses. We provide individual, couples, family, and group therapy.

A psychiatrist is a physician with specialized training in the treatment of mental illness with medication. Most do not provide psychotherapy. Their treatment modality is medical treatment of mental illnesses in individuals.

Both professions have important roles in mental health care. Research shows that medication without therapy for most mental issues is ineffective. And for some serious mental illnesses, therapy without medication is not as effective. While I think that most people are over-medicated, I do believe that medication, when used appropriately, can be of great benefit. I do not recommend medication for everyone-as there is no magic pill for mental health.

Working together providing integrated care for our patients demonstrates the best treatment outcome for long term positive relief from mental disorders.

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