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Differences Between A Psychologist And A Psychiatrist, And Different Types Of Psychologists

Suffering from mental health problems is a great difficulty in itself and then above that if one is unable to decide which mental health professional to consult to alleviate their distress can be a situation far beyond imagination. The bombarding of information on the internet, and the multidisciplinary nature of the field can become confusing for someone who is looking for a mental health professional for the first time. This article explains the job description, roles, and responsibilities between a psychiatrist and a psychologist accompanied by a list of different kinds of psychologists one can find or visit according to one's needs.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D.) who specializes in mental health and substance use disorders. They can assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.

Because they're physicians, psychiatrists can order or perform a full range of medical laboratory and psychological tests which, combined with discussions with patients, help provide an image of a patient's physical and mental state. Their education and clinical training equip them to know the complex relationship between emotional and other medical illnesses and the relationships between genetics and family history, to gauge medical and psychological data, to give a diagnosis, and to work with patients to develop treatment plans.

Psychiatrists know that social and environmental factors also play a role in the mental health condition of the patient, but they typically approach mental health symptoms from a biological angle. They have training in many related fields, including:

  • Genetics

  • Biochemistry

  • Neurology

  • Psychology

  • Social science

  • Psychopharmacology (the effects of medications on mood and mental health)


Psychologists can help people learn to deal with stressful situations, overcome addictions, and manage their chronic illnesses, and tests and assessments can help diagnose a condition or tell more about the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves.

The role of psychologists isn't only to enhance the treatment process; they can conduct clinician group discussions on effective coping skills, and strategies, and educate patients and families on mental health diagnosis procedures, and therefore the importance of the psychological aspect of mental health care.

Psychologists study and help with people’s cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors. One of their main goals is to assess and gauge their clients’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They go about this by:

  • Identifying behavioral and emotional patterns

  • Diagnosing disorders

  • Making referrals

  • Coming up with appropriate treatment plans

Psychologists may work with clients in private practice or other settings, like schools, hospitals, community health centers, prisons, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. They might also do research and conduct studies in their field.

Psychologists treat mental health issues by providing counseling and psychotherapy, which is commonly known as talk therapy.

Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists aren't medical doctors which means that they cannot write prescriptions or perform medical procedures.

The Difference Between a Psychologist And a Psychiatrist

Types Of Psychologists

1. Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists evaluate, identify, and treat people that are suffering from mental illness and psychological distress. They create treatment plans and perform psychotherapy.

Clinical psychologists frequently work in mental health facilities, private practices, and hospitals. Clinical psychologists mostly work in medical settings, but as they're not medical professionals, they cannot prescribe drugs.

2. Counseling Psychologists

People with psychological abnormalities, behavioral challenges, emotional difficulties, stress, and related concerns receive psychotherapy from counseling psychologists. These specialists have plenty in common with clinical psychologists.

3. Cognitive Psychologists

Cognitive psychologists focus on cognitive processes, particularly problem- and decision-solving. They are fascinated by the way the brain takes in, retains, uses, and learns new knowledge.

University settings, research institutes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, governmental organizations, and private practices are just a few places where cognitive psychologists may work.

4. Developmental Psychologists

The whole lifespan is a topic of study for developmental psychologists. Some focus on a particular stage of life, like infancy, adolescence, adulthood, or old age. These specialists might assess kids who may have developmental delays or disabilities, check into aging-related problems, or research how language skills are learned.

5. Educational Psychologists

These psychologists research education and also the learning process. This might entail creating teaching methods and instructional tactics. Some educational psychologists research learning difficulties or giftedness.

This kind of psychologist studies the effects of social, cognitive, and emotional aspects on learning.

6. Environmental Psychologists

Environmental psychologists investigate how humans interact with their surroundings, including both natural and artificial environments. This might entail taking part in conservation initiatives, assisting in the protection of endangered species, and searching for ways to stop global warming.

These experts might research the consequences that people have on their surroundings. To influence environmental policies, some environmental psychologists also work for the government.

7. Industrial – organizational Psychologists

I-O psychologists research workplace behavior, including the most feasible ways to choose the best candidates for specific positions and how to boost employee productivity. An I-O psychologist may use his or her understanding of psychological concepts to create tests that screen applicants for particular work roles.

They might also be responsible for creating training courses for current workers to improve their knowledge, raise their productivity, and reduce accidents. I-O psychologists are commonly asked to gauge organizations at the business level and look for fresh approaches to reduce expenses, boost productivity, and improve employee retention.

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