Dr. Eileen Callahan, Ph.D.: Psychiatrists and Psychologists

What is the diference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

There are different types of licensed therapists in each state, and although it differs state to state, there are generally three main licenses.

  • Licensed psychologists who have a doctorate level degree (either a Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology).
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) who have a masters degree.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) who also hold a masters degree.

While there are some differences in the training and education of these three types of therapists, all are trained and licensed to do psychotherapy with individuals, couples and families.  In addition, some psychiatrists provide psychotherapy as well as medication management.

  • A psychiatrist typically has an M.D. or D.O. (a physician who holds a Medical Doctor degree or Doctor of Osteopathy degree) and has been trained primarily in medications and the physical components of behavioral health. A psychiatrist generally may prescribe medication.
  • A psychologist typically has a Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology degree and has primarily been trained in clinical or counseling psychology. A psychologist generally may not prescribe medication.

Psychiatrists and psychotherapists often work in conjunction with the client, having an occassional check-up with the psychiatrist while ongoing work with the psychotherapist happens more regularly.

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