Psychiatrists are physicians that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. They have earned either an MD or DO degree. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, they complete four years of medical school and a four year residency in psychiatry. Today, most psychiatrists use medication as their primary treatment tool, though a few also provide psychotherapy.
Psychologists, like myself, specialize in the assessment and treatment of emotional distress and mental illness. A psychologist’s primary tools include psychological assessment and psychotherapy. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, most spend about five years doing supervised clinical training and graduate coursework. Prior to obtaining their doctorate degree – PhD or PsyD – and becoming licensed, they also complete two additional years of full-time supervised clinical training. It is not uncommon for psychiatrists and psychologists to collaborate to help their patients. If you and I work together and I believe you may benefit from an evaluation for medication, I will discuss this option with you. If you see a psychiatrist or other physician and are prescribed medication I will then help monitor your response and provide feedback to your psychiatrist (or the primary treating physician), as needed.