Many people even educated individuals often mix up the two terms clinical psychologist and psychiatrist. Though both treat mental disorders, there are many differences between the two professions.

Psychiatrists are doctors who have a MD in psychiatry. Hence they work in clinical settings like hospitals and private clinics. Clinical psychologists are behavioural scientists who have a Phd in psychology or a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology). Clinical psychologists have been specifically trained in the treatment of psychological disorders and often work but not limited to hospitals and private clinics. Clinical psychologists may work in courts as eyewitness testimony experts. They  may work  as career counsellors either independently or in a firm. Some may hold a teaching position in a nearby educational institution.

Another important difference between clinical psychologists and psychiatrists is the mental disorders they treat and how they treat them. Psychiatrists treat organic mental disorders; mental disorders with strong biological causes. For example schizophrenia or bipolar mood disorder. Psychologists treat non-organic mental disorders which have weak biological causes like major depression disorder or phobias. Due to biological nature of psychiatric illness, psychiatrists can prescribe psycho-pharmaceutical medicines to treat patients.

 

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