What Is The Difference between a Psychologist and A Psychiatrist?

If you’re experiencing mental health problems it’s important to know who will be the best person to seek help from.  One frequent question is ‘what is the difference between Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Therapists?’

A psychiatrist is a qualified medical Doctor that has specialised in working with mental health problems.  In the UK psychiatrists should be registered with both the general medical council (GMC) and also with the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  A Psychiatrist is able to assess and diagnose mental health problems and will often recommend treatments such as medications or certain types of psychological therapies.  They will often arrange check-up appointments whilst you have treatment in order to keep an eye on your progress.  Sometimes Psychiatrists will provide you therapy themselves, however more often they will refer to an experienced psychologist or therapist.  We do not have any Psychiatrists working in our team, but have good links with Psychiatrists nearby and can refer you to one of required.

A Psychologist is a specialist in using psychological techniques, such as working with how you think of deal with problems in order to help reduce emotional problems.  There are different types of specialist psychologist, such as Counselling Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists and Health Psychologists, who have each undertaken different specific specialist trainings.  Psychologists have a legally protected title in the UK, which means that they need to be registered with the British Psychological Society and Health Professions Council to call themselves a Chartered Psychologist.

A Therapist is a general term to describe someone that offers any type of therapy to you.  It is important when selecting a Therapist to consider firstly what type of therapy has been shown to be most effective in treating the problems you are experiencing, but also whether the Therapist is accredited or registered with an appropriate professional body.  For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is a useful treatment for a range of emotional and physical problems should only be provided by somebody that is accredited by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

You can read more about our therapists and psychologists accreditation and registrations by viewing Our Team Page.