Do you know the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and a therapist? If you are seeking mental health treatment for a workplace injury or a mental injury stemming from a workplace injury, you may need to understand the distinction.
What Is a Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. You might think of a psychiatrist like a heart surgeon who focuses on performing surgery on people’s hearts, or a dentist who looks at people’s oral and dental health. The psychiatrist’s focus is mental health, rather than other branches of medicine.
Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can assess both the mental and physical manifestations of mental health issues, psychological and behavioral disorders, and substance abuse problems. They can prescribe medications to address and improve mental health.
What Is a Psychologist?
Psychologists use psychotherapy or “talk therapy” to help people overcome their problems. Unlike psychiatrists, many psychologists are not medical doctors. Instead, they earn masters or doctoral degrees in psychology. In some states, psychologists can prescribe medication to patients in addition to providing therapy.
Psychologists may use various tests, assessments, and types of therapy to help patients. For example, some psychologists may specialize in cognitive, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, humanistic, or psychodynamic therapy. Others may be trained to perform hypnosis. Therapy sessions may happen by yourself, with family members, or with a partner or spouse.
What Is a Therapist?
The term “therapist” may refer to a psychotherapist (psychologist), a psychiatric doctor, a counselor, or a licensed therapist. Like psychologists, therapists and counselors use talk therapy to help people. In some states, therapists who do not have masters or doctorates in psychology must have licenses.
Therapists and counselors may help people with a variety of issues beyond just mental health. They may offer marriage and family counseling, career counseling, life coaching, or social work services.
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