Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists – What’s the Difference?

Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists all help individuals and couples overcome their problems and live live with greater meaning and purpose. What’s the distinction between them? Briefly:

Psychologists study behaviour and work wtih people to modify it where it no longer serves them or is seen to be dysfunctional. When psychologists talk about ‘behaviour’ it doesn’t just mean the behaviour you observer – feelings, thoughts and perceptions are also behaviours.

Psychiatrists are also registered medical doctors who have specialised in mental illness and well-being. They study psychopharmacology i.e. use of drugs in modifying behaviour and brain chemistry. They also talk to their client and help them change their outlooks and behaviour but invariably use medication within their treatment.

Psychotherapists form relationships with their clients over an extended period to explore repeating patterns that no longer serve people – i.e. attracting bad relationships, always losing a job or simply not liking themselves or them simply investing in personal development to help them answer the question ‘Who am I and what do I want my life to be about?’ They look at integrating conscious and unconscious elements of the individual so they becomes the choosers of their actions rather than feeling at their whim.

Counselling Modalities – How do different therapists work?