Psychologist? Psychiatrist ? What’s the Difference?

Clients often ask me the difference between a Psychologist (like myself) and a Psychiatrist. The New Zealand Psychological Society offer this explanation….


Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in mental health and often work together.  There are sometimes differences in the focus of their work and the way they work.

Psychologists focus their training on the scientific study of mental processes and behaviour and specialise in aspects of psychology in their postgraduate studies.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists use a range of treatments including medication and mainly work with people who are mentally ill.

Psychologists work with people who are mentally healthy and want to find ways of functioning better and also work with those who are mentally ill.   Psychologists are unable to prescribe medication but are skilled in using a range of other techniques to assist people to function better.

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