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Difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

The brain is proven to be the most complex part of the human body. It is responsible for the production of our every thought, action, memory, feeling, and experience of the world.

“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe,” said theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.

But it stops working during an exam.

Nonetheless, it comes with no surprises that the specialists working for the positive health of this jelly-like mass tissue have some differences in their professions. 

To know the difference between psychology and psychiatry and psychotherapy, we need to answer:

As a result, you will also get to understand the difference between psychologist and psychiatrist and psychotherapist. 

Let’s get started.

 

 

What is Psychology?

How does a person think? How do they act, react, and interact? Psychology is all about these things and more. 

The easiest way to define psychology is that it is the scientific study of mind and behavior. It is a discipline that has multiple aspects to it as well as includes many sub-fields of study. Areas such as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior, and cognitive processes come under psychology.

Psychology has four main goals: 

  1. Describe: The first goal of psychology is to describe a behavior or cognition
  2. Explain: Once a behavior has been described, the next goal is to explain the reason behind it
  3. Predict: After studying the behavior, psychology also aims to predict future behaviors 
  4. Change: The final goal of psychology is to control or change the behavior for the better

If you are fascinated by the study of human behavior then a career in psychology might be something you should look into.

 

What is Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is where you mix being a psychologist and being a doctor. No, you don’t have to buy a stethoscope or perform surgeries.

Although it would fun to watch someone use a stethoscope on someone’s forehead. 

Psychiatry is the practice of treating mental illness by diagnosing a person suffering from them. Psychiatrists are medical doctors that help people suffering from mental illness including drug or substance use disorders. 

They not only help overcome the mental but also the physical aspects related to psychological problems.

The major difference between psychology and psychiatry is that the latter treat patients by prescribing medicines and the former uses scientific studies.

 

What is Psychotherapy?

Did you know that there are methods in psychology that can be used to change a person’s behavior for the better?

Talk about having power

Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods based on regular-personal interactions to help a person suffering from various issues. These issues can be stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, negative behavior patterns, debilitating feelings, and various other mental conditions.

A psychotherapist works together with the patient over a long period of time to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that aren’t doing any good for him/her. 

But you might ask how does it work? 

Based on the patient, there are many different approaches in Psychotherapy: 

  • cognitive behavioral therapies
  • psychoanalytic therapies
  • psychodynamic therapies
  • systemic and family psychotherapy
  • arts and play therapies
  • humanistic and integrative psychotherapies
  • Hypno-psychotherapy
  • experiential constructivist therapies

Psychotherapy is a specialization of psychology and so to become a psychotherapist, you need to know how to become a psychologist first.

 

 

How to Become a Psychologist

To have a career in Psychology, you should take the following steps:

1: Prefer passing your 10+2 with psychology as one of the subjects

2: Gain a bachelor’s, either a BA or BS in psychology.

3: Specialise at the postgraduate level. Look to get an M.A. or M.Sc. and choose from either Psychology, Social Work, or Counselling. 

4: You can even opt-in to earn a further specialization at the doctoral level (Ph.D. or M.Phil)

5: In addition to the above steps, you can should also consider getting licensed. To get licensed, you’ll either need to study in an RCI recognized college (Rehabilitation Council of India) or apply to RCI after completion of appropriate educational qualification. 

Students passed from non-RCI recognized Indian universities are not entitled to practice as clinical psychologists. They will have to complete a two-year M.Phil program from an RCI recognized university or a foreign university. 

Moreover, students from foreign universities will also have to pass an examination formulated by RCI. 

How to Become a Psychiatrist

As mentioned before, psychiatrists deal with medicines. This results in psychiatry being a specialization within a psychologist’s postgraduate degree (Doctor of Medicine, MD)

You can either pursue to gain an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) in psychiatry after your MBBS or after your graduation or post-graduation in psychology. 

Moreover, you also have the option to become a psychiatrist by completing a Diploma in Psychiatric Medicine (DPM) from a recognized educational institute. 

How to Become a Psychotherapist

To become a psychotherapist, you’ll first have to choose a career in psychology as well as become a graduate or post-graduate in psychology. 

You will then need to specialize by studying clinical counseling or industrial counseling. You can do so either by gaining a diploma or a degree. 

 

 

How should I choose what to pursue?

Now that you clearly know the difference between psychology and psychiatry and psychotherapy, it is time to answer what’s best for you. 

Is it a career in psychology? Perhaps psychiatry will be a good career choice or maybe psychotherapy. 

We believe that you need only to understand the difference between psychologist and psychiatrist and choose between these two. Because if you choose a career in psychology, becoming a psychotherapist is just a few steps away.  

Are you someone who is fascinated by human behavior? Are you someone who loves helping his/her friends suffering from mental issues? 

If the answer to the above and similar questions is yes then psychology might be the career you’ll enjoy thoroughly. 

Psychologists start at an average of INR 30,000 per month and then easily increase their income with some experience

On the contrary, would you like to help people overcome behavioral issues? Also, are you someone who has an educational history or fascination in medical? 

If these are the yes’ you got then becoming a psychiatrist is something you should look into. 

Psychiatrists can earn an average of INR 4 lakhs per annum at the start of their career

And as for becoming a psychotherapist goes, you first need to become a practitioner of psychology. You can then decide whether you want to specialize further in the field. 

Due to psychotherapy still being an emerging career in India, there isn’t enough data available to justify a practitioner’s average salary. 

But according to Indeed, a psychotherapist earns an average of INR 17,000 per month. However, keep in mind that these statistics are based on only 13 salaries. 

We have already answered how to become a psychologist/psychiatrist/psychotherapist, its time for you to decide one and take the leap towards your bright future.

 

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