Psychiatrists vs Psychologists

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Many people are not aware of what the difference is between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, let alone how treatment differs between the two. Although both providers are committed to helping people with mental health issues, the approach both take differs and is still very complementary to each other. Psychologists largely perform counseling and therapy. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who mostly utilize and rely on, medications to manage mental health issues.

Nature vs Nurture

Psychiatrists, who are physicians that specialize in mental health issues, are trained in medical school in biology, biochemistry, physiology, and genetics. Much of the mental health issues are studied and treated through the lens of chemical imbalances occurring in the brain. Psychiatry as a field focuses on the nature side of the argument and research ways to manipulate or compensate for chemical imbalances occurring.

Although historically psychiatrists were well trained in the art of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, these days it is psychologists who perform the majority of therapy and counseling services. This probably represents more of the nurture side of the debate. This side contends that many mental health issues stem from the environment, upbringing, and the experiences people go through. Therapy is geared toward uncovering and helping people resolve these issues.

Complimentary Care

Both psychiatrists and psychologists see the value, approach, and treatment styles of each other. Research continues to validate that there is value in both approaches and treatments. Some mental health diagnoses necessitate the hand of a psychiatrist such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia which require medications to correct chemical imbalances. Even in these instances where psychiatry is a necessary component of treatment, it has been shown that psychotherapy help to improve outcomes even when these issues are more driven by nature. Likewise, even common issues like depression and anxiety are treated very effectively by either, or both, psychiatrists and psychologists; many times, having an additive effect together.

Maple Grove Psychiatrists

As a clinic that offers both medication and counseling, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an individual consultation with one of our psychiatrists or psychologists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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