The Difference Between a Therapist and a Psychiatrist

If you are seeking support for a mental health issue, you may be wondering about the difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist. This article will explore how these two roles differ and where they overlap. Read on to discover more!

What is a therapist?

The role of a therapist is to help people gain insight into their problems, develop solutions, and create a community of support which helps the person to begin the process of recovery. A therapist works with clients to gain a deeper understanding of the cause of the issues they face. They aim to provide a safe space in which you can be completely open about any difficult thoughts, emotions or memories. Your therapist will reflect what you are saying back to you by making statements and asking questions. This reflection allows you to consider how you are feeling more deeply so you can again express it in a more precise way. As this process is repeated over a number of sessions, it is hoped that breakthroughs will begin to occur after which you will think or feel differently about past trauma. During the session, you will also be encouraged to explore different coping strategies to handle difficult thoughts, feelings or behaviours. While therapists receive advanced training, they are not medical doctors and they are unable to prescribe medication nor make formal diagnoses.

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who has specialised in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. A psychiatrist works with a team of healthcare professionals to manage the treatment of a patient's condition. This team can be made up of psychologists, social workers, and nurse practitioners who will assist the psychiatrist in overseeing the individual's therapy. A psychiatrist may perform therapeutic work with you using some of the same techniques as a therapist. They also have the ability to prescribe medications and perform psychiatric assessments to make a formal diagnosis relating to a patients mental health. Diagnosing someone with a mental health condition is a complex process that requires a substantial amount of knowledge and skill. A psychiatrist will take into account a person's symptoms, family history and the severity of the condition when determining a diagnosis.

If you are interested in finding out more, you should make contact with a local mental health service. A member of staff will be happy to offer you help so you can access the right support.