Psychologist Vs Psychiatrist: What’s the difference about?

The pandemic has made our world a different place, affecting a lot of things. It was an unexpected event that created panic and stress among people. It has impacted our lives, and one such impact is deteriorating mental health. People struggling with mental health conditions are searching for the best online doctor consultation in India. It is where the two fields of mental health sciences stand crucial. Psychology and Psychiatry are the need of these testing times. But how are they different?         

What is Psychology, and what is it all about?

First used by the German scholastic philosopher Rudolf Göckel, the word has ancient origins. The term ‘psychology’ has been formed using the Greek words ‘psychē’ (meaning mind) and ‘logia’ (meaning the study of). Psychology started in the early 19th century as a field of scientific discipline dealing with the rationale of behavior, emotional processes, and mental functions of humankind. This field of study is concerned with emotion, phenomenology, brain functioning, temperament, human-to-human, and human-to-surrounding relationship. Psychological research is an amalgamation of social and natural sciences alongside philosophy and humanities.

And what is Psychiatry?

The word Psychiatry, coined by Reil in 1808, finds its origin in the Greek words ‘psychē’ (meaning mind) and ‘iatreia’ (meaning healing). Like its name, psychiatry is a branch dealing with healing mental health conditions using drug medications. Psychiatry usually involves medicine-induced therapy for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

How are psychologists and psychiatrists different?    

While both psychiatry and psychology have similar etymologies, there is a stark difference between their applications like:

Method of treatment:

Psychologists focus on psychotherapeutic treatment, which involves the use of therapy. Some psychologists also use the ways of evaluation, deduction, and psychological testing as a means of diagnosis. A Psychiatrist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor. Therefore, a Psychiatrist prescribes medications to deal with ailments.

Modes of treatment:

A psychologist works with the patient, figures out ways of therapy and implements it. Then, after assessing the patient’s condition, a psychiatrist prescribes medicinal drugs like anti-depressants, hypnotics, sedatives, and stimulants. If you have been struggling with mental health issues, you can opt for India’s best online doctor consultation.

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Eligibility and requirements:

To be a Psychologist you will, first, require a graduate degree in Psychology. Next, you’ll need a masters in Psychology and then a doctorate in Philosophy.

Being a Psychiatrist requires you to opt for Biology as a subject in standard 12th. Then you’ll need an MBBS (a 5-year course) and an MD degree (a 3-year course). You can also enroll yourself in a diploma in Psychiatric Medicine.

Types and variants:

Next difference between the two lies in their varieties.

Branch Field Type
1-    Psychology ·       Clinical Psychology

·       Health Psychology

·       Cognitive Psychology

·       Social Psychology

·       Educational Psychology, etc.


2-    Psychiatry ·       Child Psychiatry

·       Clinical Psychiatry

·       Clinical Neurophysiology

·       Forensic Psychiatry, etc.


The conditions they are supposed to deal with:

A Psychiatrist expects to see severe conditions of depression, drug abuse, Autism, or Schizophrenia. In addition, psychologists usually deal with people having behavioral disorders, memory or adjustment-related issues. Because Psychiatrists have prescriptive authority, they can treat more severe conditions. 

Working environment and place of employment:

Both Psychiatrists and Psychologists work in several different places. A psychologist usually works in a Rehabilitation Centre, School, university, or a government agency. However, the work environment of a psychiatrist is more focused at the clinical level. Being a medical doctor, a psychiatrist usually works at health centers, public or private hospitals.

The difference in the skills required:

Both psychologists and Psychiatrists require similar skills like compassion, resilience, friendliness, tolerance, calmness, and prudence. However, a psychiatrist needs additional insights regarding how a mental disease (like schizophrenia) develops in the patient. It is because they have to prescribe medicinal drugs which require precision and understanding.

Next, both Psychologists and Psychiatrists need to have a good grasp of modern research around mental health to be successful. Finally contrary to the myth, both Psychologists and Psychiatrists are paid well depending on the time they invest in their profession.

How do you choose where to go?

Suppose you know a person who needs mental health interventions. If he is convinced to have talk therapy or cognitive therapy, you can choose a psychologist. If you are confident that his condition needs medicinal add-ons, you can advise him to opt for a psychiatrist. Just doing a google search that says best psychiatrist in Chennai will get you to one. And nowadays, you can get the best online doctor consultation in India through your phone. It is essential because of social stigmas surrounding mental health problems. You can choose to visit a doctor from the comfort of your home.

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