Discord is always sown with the differences between psychologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Keep in mind that each specialist is dedicated to one thing , therefore, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist are not the same. They are in the same branch of study, but they have very different defined variants since each one deals with a different subject .

What is a psychologist?

The person who studies psychology , that is, a psychologist attends to psychological difficulties from an understanding of human behavior. Not all behaviors are the same and there are countless different cases as a result of different acts. The psychologist performs a diagnosis and treatment, giving more importance to the faculties related to thinking, affections, feelings, and people’s behavior, thus helping the patient to understand what really happens, to resolve psychological difficulties. In addition, they provide emotional support, help to understand society, offer human development strategies, helps develop the cognitive area, advises on personal matters, and helps develop knowledge about the relationship between biology and behavior .

Those licensed psychologists who are qualified to give psychotherapy and counseling , perform psychometric tests, and provide treatment for people with mental disorders and psychological difficulties in everyday life. The psychologist cannot prescribe any type of medication since it is not suitable to derive one drug or another. On the other hand, the psychologist and the psychiatrist can work together.

What is a psychiatrist?

On the other hand, the professional dedicated to the area of ​​psychiatry, that is, the psychiatrist, unlike the psychologist, has a training in medicine, and a specialization in psychiatric disorders, that is, his general approach is always based on medicine and gives more importance to the organic aspects of mental disorders.

Psychiatrists have a great knowledge of the functioning of the brain and its biological structure. The main role they play is usually focused on brain physiology and chemistry, thus treating mental or emotional disorders by prescription of drugs. The psychiatrist uses this (pharmacological) methodology to improve the disabling symptoms of psychological disorders, although on some occasions they treat with psychotherapy intervention.

Generally, the psychologist is in charge of the psychotherapeutic treatment and the psychiatrist controls the patient’s medication, when necessary. In cases such as major depression, bipolar disorder and borderline disorder, both the psychologist and the psychiatrician work hand in hand to solve the patient’s problem and reach a prompt and complete recovery from mental illness as soon as possible .

What is a psychotherapist?

A psychotherapist is a professional who, in general, with those people who, once they have finished their studies in psychology , a doctor or a social worker, specialize in this terminology to help people with problems. Psychotherapy refers to work that improves the quality of life and relationships of a person who has some type of mental illness and is not able to solve it on his own.

This specialization is a communication process between a psychotherapist, (person in charge of evaluating a person who comes to consult him as a patient) and the person requesting that help in order to improve changes in behavior, attitudes, thoughts or affections. The relationship between the psychotherapist and the patient are governed by safeguarding and respecting strict rules in their practice, always fundamental, not revealing the identity of the patient, that is, confidentiality is essential. Likewise, a neutral attitude is also necessary, as is maintaining empathy .

At the same time there are different approaches in psychotherapy; Cognitive-behavioral therapies, psychoanalytic therapies, psychodynamic therapies, systemic and family psychotherapy, art and game therapy, humanistic and integrative psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and constructivist therapies.A psychotherapist, can be a psychiatrist, a psychologist even a health professional mental health that has done this specialty in psychotherapy. To put it in some way, it is a branch that helps to better understand social behavior and that does not require previous studies.

Differences between professions

The main difference between one profession and another resides in the approach (studies and methodologies) with which they treat the phenomenon of mental health and address the goal of curing or treating mental illness. The difference has to do with the different studies that each one performs. The Psychologist and Psychotherapist offers mental therapy solutions, while the psychiatrist (if he has not studied psychology), only and exclusively offers pharmacological treatment . In addition, the first two may specialize in psychotherapy in order to better understand the behaviorhuman and offer many more alternatives and solutions to the patient who requests help. As a general rule, a person with mental problems goes to the psychologist and later if they need help with drugs, they will be referred to the psychiatrist . Ultimately, the psychotherapist is an extra help to the two professions mentioned above. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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