Most Russians, unlike Europeans or Americans, have a misconception about the importance and significance of psychological assistance. Our popular psychology magazines and TV shows do not give the correct answer, what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist. This has caused a common misconception that they are only approached if they have a serious mental illness. The article will dispel this myth and point out the main differences between psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist.
The modern, fast pace of life causes constant stressful situations, with which a person simply does not have time to fight. Such stress in itself is dangerous to health, but sometimes traumatic events occur that the psyche may not be able to cope with.
At such moments, a person realizes that something is wrong with him: he feels a lack of mood and desire to do something, physical ailment. Internal forces disappear, so it is no longer possible to solve the problem on your own. Some turn to loved ones for support, others completely immerse themselves in work, ignoring the problem. Others make a choice in favor of the worst “helper” – alcohol. But only a few realize the need to consult a psychologist or psychotherapist.
Difference between psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist
The only correct solution in the presence of a psychoemotional problem, which cannot be dealt with without outside professional intervention, is to visit a specialist dealing with similar issues. To do this, it is important to understand what is the difference between a psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist.
All of them, in fact, are concerned with restoring the patient’s mental health. However, there are important differences between the nature of the assistance provided, which mainly depend on the education required by the specialist:
- psychologists cannot deal with making medical diagnoses;
- psychotherapists can diagnose psychosomatic diseases, which is different from psychologists;
- psychiatrists have the right to prescribe medication drugs.
These are not the only differences between specialists that should be considered when wanting to go to an appointment with one of them. For a better understanding, it is necessary to understand the responsibilities and specifics of the work of each of them.
Areas of work of a psychologist
Psychologists are trained in the psychological faculties of universities, and there is no need to obtain medical education. There are the following areas of their specialization:
- Educational psychologists who are focused on activities in various educational institutions. They are engaged in solving behavioral problems, contribute to the correct development of relationships between students and establish contact with teachers, help in the educational process.
- Social educators work with adults through special bodies: they help families and elderly people in difficult situations.
- Clinical psychologists, unlike ordinary psychologists, can consider mental pathologies separately, they also deal with the psychological preparation of patients for surgery and facilitate their rehabilitation.
- Legal psychologists are working to correct the behavior of difficult adolescents who are registered with the juvenile police.
- Family psychologists help to create and maintain harmonious relationships within the same family, including between different generations.
These are not all the issues they specialize in, but only the most basic ones. The psychologist deals only with psychological problems that are not associated with disturbances in the functioning of the brain, since this will already require competence in the field of medicine.
Who and what do psychologists work with?
The difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist is that the former only works with mentally healthy people. The reasons for contacting a specialist may be:
- crisis life situation;
- general dissatisfaction with life;
- behavioral stereotypes that cause problems in the workplace;
- unfavorable social relations;
- physical ailments.
Psychologists are mostly engaged in counseling clients on problematic issues, they often also conduct trainings on various topics, such as personal growth and relationships. They can be recruited to conduct psychological tests, for example, to identify the intellectual abilities of students or leadership qualities among company employees.
Some psychologists use hypnosis techniques in their work, which allow them to identify the client’s problems more quickly. This approach is especially convenient in the presence of unconscious attitudes that are associated with distant events from childhood and are not even realized by the person himself. Such problems require a special approach, hypnosis is one of the possible methods of work.
The competence of a psychotherapist
A psychotherapist works with those with mental health problems. He is also distinguished from a psychologist by the presence of medical education: usually basic psychiatric and additional in psychotherapy. This specialist does not deal with the treatment of severe mental illnesses, his competence includes, for the most part, the solution of neurotic problems.
People who are depressed or apathetic, suffer from panic attacks, or have symptoms of anxiety may turn to a psychotherapist. Such problems can be caused by an experienced or experienced long-term situation of constant stress, or internal psychological reasons. Psychotherapists treat this particular category of mental disorders.
Methods of the psychotherapist’s work
The psychotherapist uses both psychological and medical methods in his work. Many problems require their competent combination: for example, taking medications is combined with supportive psychotherapy. This approach allows you to eliminate acute symptoms and correct behavioral attitudes, which creates a good basis for further personal growth of the client.
An important method that both therapist and psychologist can learn is psychoanalysis. It makes it possible to gain access to the client’s unconscious attitudes, to identify psychotraumas that affect his current state. A psychoanalyst, a specialist who has mastered this technique, uses a wide range of additional opportunities in solving psychological problems.
Scope of work and responsibilities of the psychiatrist
For a psychiatrist, it is compulsory to have a higher psychiatric education, as he works with severe mental illnesses. The reception of this doctor is carried out in hospitals and specialized dispensaries. The specialist can also work in hospitals with hospitalized patients whose disease is in a period of exacerbation, or has a very severe nature (schizophrenia, phobia, epilepsy).
The main thing that distinguishes a psychologist from a psychiatrist is that the doctor makes a specific diagnosis for the patient and conducts treatment using various therapeutic methods, such as physiotherapy and pharmacotherapy. He does not need to have a psychological education, since serious mental pathologies cannot be treated with counseling. But when the patient recovers, they often resort to socio-psychological behavior correction, which is carried out by a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist.
What do you need to know when choosing a specialist?
When choosing a specialist, it is important to consider what is the difference between a psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist. It is necessary to know the basic questions that each of them can work with.
A psychologist will help:
- return inner peace of mind;
- gain confidence;
- make family relationships harmonious;
- learn how to properly deal with overstrain, both emotional and physical;
- gain or improve social interaction skills.
People who have been in an emergency situation that have led to the death of loved ones or caused serious physical injury to the person should definitely contact a specialist.
You should seek the help of a psychotherapist if you have:
- obsessive thoughts and excessive suspicion;
- various phobias;
- panic attacks;
- apathy or depression;
- uncontrolled bouts of anger;
- anxiety arising for no reason.
All these signs indicate the need to consult a specialist, while disorders can be caused by both external circumstances and psychological factors.
Psychiatrists treat people with serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and various psychoses. It is worth contacting when:
- behavior that is devoid of adequacy and defies logical explanation;
- a person’s lack of understanding of his condition;
- delirium and hallucinations;
- fear that causes panic and uncontrollable;
- inability to adapt to the social environment.
Every person is ever faced with severe stressful situations, the consequences of which cannot always be dealt with on their own. In this case, you should definitely contact a specialist who will select the correct treatment (psychiatrist, psychotherapist) or help you cope with psychological difficulties (psychologist).
IMPORTANT! The article is for informational purposes only. To diagnose the problem and its subsequent treatment, you should contact the appropriate specialist.