In today’s healthcare system, you have two different types of mental health practitioners: psychiatrists and psychologists. While both are trained to help those who suffer from mental health disorders, how they go about treating these patients is quite different. In order to determine the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists, you need to understand the scope of practice that each job holds.
What Is The Scope Of Practice?
The scopes of psychiatry and psychology are very similar in that both allow practitioners to perform psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is defined as the treatment of mental disorders, especially by talking about one’s experiences with a trained therapist. However, the two professions do have some differences when it comes to their respective scopes of practice.
Psychiatrists are trained in medicine and psychotherapy. They can prescribe medications and perform therapy sessions with patients in order to help them manage their mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. Doctors must go through medical school and complete a 4-year residency in psychiatry in order to practice. Psychiatrists can work independently or for a psychiatric hospital.
Psychologists, on the other hand, are not medically trained and are unable to prescribe medications. However, psychologists are more likely to focus solely on psychotherapy rather than performing both therapy sessions and prescribing drugs. Many psychologists choose to work at schools or other mental health centers alongside psychiatrists.
Becoming A Psychiatrist Or Psychologist
If you want to become either a psychiatrist or psychologist, it takes years of training and education. There are certain things that you can do in order to get yourself started on this path, though.
For example, if you’re interested in becoming a psychiatrist, then you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree before attending medical school. You can then complete four years of medical school followed by up to six years of residency in psychiatry, depending on the requirements set forth by your state. Once you have finished with this training, you can take the standardized tests required for licensure in order to practice medicine.
Psychologists, on the other hand, do not need to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to getting an education in psychology. In fact, those with a bachelor’s degree in another field can enter a graduate program for psychology and obtain their Master’s or Doctorate degrees. You will then be eligible to become licensed as a psychologist as long as you pass your licensing exam. In most states, the licensing exam is the same for psychiatrists and psychologists.
If you’re interested in a career in psychiatry or psychology, it is important to remember that both professions require extensive training and education in order to get started. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree or more before obtaining a graduate degree. It will then take years of training in order to become a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist.
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