There are many treatments and professionals in Australia to deal with mental health issues, and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish their roles. Even with an internet search, the breadth of information can make it confusing. This is natural because not every professional with the same qualification and expertise would carry out the same responsibilities. Therefore, understanding what a psychologist is, does, and how it differs from a psychiatrist in Australia will help you get the treatment and care you need.
Who Is A Psychologist?
Psychologists are medical doctors who have earned a doctorate in psychology, with their main involvement is people study, such as how they think, act and interact in multiple internal and external environments. Psychologists are also concerned with the field of medicine known as talk therapy to focus on human cognitive functioning and development, and they have received substantial training in psychological diagnosis and testing.
Many psychologists are also trained in research techniques. Many research-oriented psychologists prefer to work in academic settings or research facilities and achieve a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology. A Doctor of Psychology degree is earned by psychologists who choose to focus completely on clinical practice rather than research.
What About A Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a doctor who has completed further training in psychiatry after completing medical school. They are specially trained in diagnosing and treating complex mental health illnesses and concerns. Medication is also prescribed if required but psychiatrists may also use various psychotherapy remedies required.
For example, a psychiatrist diagnoses and prescribes medications to treat mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.
You usually require a referral from your primary care physician (GP) to see a psychiatrist.
What’s The Difference Between A Psychiatrist And A Psychologist?
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists are all medical specialists who assist in the treatment of mental illnesses.
The major distinction between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychiatrist has completed medical and additional psychiatric training.
Different types of psychotherapy can be used by psychologists to treat mental health issues. For example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can assist patients in changing their thought patterns and actions to improve their moods.
Psychodynamic therapy is another sort of talk therapy. This therapy may involve the client talking about how their past experiences have influenced their current symptoms or feelings, which can lead to a better understanding of their current symptoms or feelings.
Psychologist or Psychiatrist – Which One Is Right For Me?
Whilst both a psychologist and a psychiatrist are both honest options for treating mental illnesses. Their subtle differences can be understood by your preference and what you need.
You are better suited to a psychiatrist if:
- You want to understand more about your illness
- Medicine is required to treat the illness
- You want to avoid talking about the illness in greater detail (i.e. you don’t prefer talk therapy)
You are better suited to a psychologist if:
- You prefer talking therapy and want to talk about your illness in further depth
- You don’t want to take medicine to treat the illness
- You want to understand how your mental illness is impacting you
- You want to learn about ways to overcome it
Ultimately, medication is available to treat your mental illness, but talking therapy would mean you won’t get any medication either. It requires confidential conversations with your psychologist in the form of talking therapy to help you understand how you can combat your illness through coping mechanisms.
If you’re seeking support with a mental illness, consult us at Lotus Medical Centre today for an initial conversation and examination.