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What is the Difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

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Question: What is the Difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
Readers who are interested in mental health care careers often wonder what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
Answer: The simplest way to understand the difference between the two is by looking at the training and educational requirements for each, in addition to professional roles of each. Both psychiatrists and psychologists are involved in mental health care and counseling, so there are many similarities. However, there are several fundamental differences between the two professions.

A psychiatrist, unlike a psychologist, is a medical doctor with an M.D. degree or D.O. degree. Like all medical doctors, psychiatrists complete an extensive residency training program after graduating from medical school. Therefore, psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications, unlike psychologists.

Psychologists typically hold a PhD in psychology, as opposed to a medical degree, because they do not attend medical school. Therefore they are able to provide counseling and therapy to treat mental health, but would have to refer patients to a psychiatrist or other M.D. to provide medication for a patient.

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