While both psychiatry and psychological counseling deal with people with a wide range of complex emotional problems, there are key differences worth noting between these two medical specialties and their practitioners. Like most therapists, psychiatrists attempt to identify the underlying cause of a patient’s emotional distress and then work with him or her to help them control those feelings, improving their ability to function in society. Unlike psychologists, psychiatrists often work with their patients for several months before creating a therapy program that can be implemented by the patient on their own or with the help of other professionals.
While both psychologists and psychiatrists are required to have formal education before practicing in a medical office, the training they receive varies greatly. Although every state requires licensed psychotherapists to obtain a master’s degree before becoming eligible to practice legally, most states require less than a bachelor’s degree to become a licensed psychologist. Many psychologists also begin their careers as psychiatrists, although this is not necessary. The level of education required to become a psychiatric physician varies from state to state. Most doctors who perform family counseling do not go on to become psychiatrists.
In the vast majority of cases, doctors with no formal education or clinical experience begin practicing as psychiatrists. Many psychiatrists begin their careers by participating in a course of study called licensure in psychiatry or mental health. States typically require that a psychiatrist take this course before they can take the licensing exam to open a private practice. In many cases, when a psychiatrist has successfully completed the licensure process, they can file to take the licensure exam for their state instead of pursuing formal education and licensure in another state. A number of states make the licensing exam optional, so that a person can pursue a psychiatric practice without having to pass it. However, all states require psychiatrists to have at least a master’s degree in mental health before they can apply for licensing.
Most psychiatrists participate in continuing education activities every year. In addition to completing their Master’s degree and obtaining their license to practice medicine, psychiatrists must complete additional educational activities, such as specific training in psychology, mental disorders, and addiction. A psychiatrist may choose to specialize in a particular illness or in mental illnesses, depending on which field of psychiatric practice they decide to enter. Some psychiatrists choose to become teachers or consultants, while others choose to become administrators, researchers, and practitioners in various other settings. Still others obtain higher degrees and credentials and open private practices in a variety of medical settings.
A psychologist who chooses to become a psychiatrist must first earn a bachelor’s degree and complete a specific number of credits in order to sit for the licensing exam. Once the individual has passed the exam, he or she will be considered a licensed psychologist. A psychiatrist does not necessarily need to specialize in any particular area of psychiatric practice in order to practice in that field. Many psychiatrists choose to practice within a range of different specialties that allow them to treat a variety of clients with many different needs and wants.
Psychologists and psychiatrists both provide specific services to help treat mental health conditions. A psychologist helps individuals and families deal with everyday life stressors. They can also help individuals and families deal with traumatic events or circumstances that may have a negative impact on their mental health. Psychologists can provide therapy, counseling, or diagnostic testing for their patients, and most often work with other healthcare professionals to help individuals suffering from a physical, emotional, or neurological disorder.
A psychiatrist’s job may include treating patients with medications to help treat a mental health condition or to help them deal with everyday stresses. There are many types of medications that psychiatrists can prescribe to their patients. These may include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications. A psychiatrist can treat a variety of mood disorders by using a range of medications.
If you suffer from one of a number of psychiatric or psychological disorders then you should consult a professional qualified psychiatrist. You should always remember that while there is treatment available through the use of medication, it is ultimately up to you and your family members to take care of any medical, emotional, or behavioral issues you have. You should never try to self diagnose or self medicate. It is essential that you seek medical attention from a qualified professional whenever you think you may be suffering from a disorder.