Clinical Psychology vs Psychiatry: What Are the Differences?

clinical psychology vs psychiatry
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Psychology is a more popular field than ever before. By 2023, employment for psychologists is projected to rise by 19%. This is well above the 7% average growth in other industries!

If this field interests you, you may have wondered about the difference between clinical psychology vs psychiatry before. Read on to learn about these two psychiatric fields and get a feel for their similarities and differences.

The Basics of Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology. It’s a term describing treating patients that suffer from psychological issues.

This is the largest field of psychology. It aims to assist patients and provide real-life treatment. These treatments are generally limited to counseling and talk therapy.

Most clinical psychologists are equipped to give expert advice. But they are not allowed to prescribe medication to their patients. This is a job left to psychiatrists.

How Is Psychiatry Different?

Psychiatry is another branch of psychology that specializes in treating patients. They are able to prescribe the pharmaceuticals that clinical psychologists are not. This is because they are MDs that have graduated from medical school.

Psychiatrists often work in tandem and treat the same patients. Both talk therapy and medication work together for a holistic approach to treatment.

Types of Psychiatrists

There are several types of psychiatrists. Holistic psychiatrists examine the mind, body, and emotions as one interconnected unit. They come up with comprehensive treatment plans.

School psychiatrists specialize in treating specific patients. Youth psychiatrists also treat teenagers outside of school settings. They may deal with issues like eating disorders, depression, and abusive home situations.

Forensic psychologists work with the legal system to evaluate defendants. They study them to see if they can stand trial.

They also confirm the legitimacy of insanity pleas. They also work with patients in prisons.

Clinical Psychology vs Psychiatry: Similarities and Differences

Some similarities between clinical psychology and psychiatry include:

  • Both study the human mind
  • Both provide treatment to patients
  • Both work together for holistic treatment
  • Both have multiple schools of thought
  • Experts have undergraduate degrees in psychology
  • Professionals work at similar institutions and facilities
  • All experts are licensed by a board and maintain licensure with frequent examinations

There are also many key differences:

  • Clinical psychologists specialize in talking with patients
  • Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication
  • Psychiatrists can give a patient a psychometric test
  • Psychiatrists have graduate degrees (MDs) rather than just bachelor’s degrees
  • Psychiatrists can give tests for disorders and mental illnesses
  • Clinical psychologists cost less than psychiatrists
  • Psychiatrists can work with law enforcement

If you’re interested in getting a psychology career, it’s important that you research both of these fields. Education and experience can help you figure out what’s best for you.

Learn More About Psych Topics

Now you know the difference between clinical psychology vs psychiatry. That means it’s time to learn more about mental health.

Check out the “health” tab on our home page for more information about boosting your psychological wellness. You may also be interested in the “education” tab if you want to learn more on various topics.