How are psychologists and psychiatrists the same and different?



Both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to provide psychotherapy and counselling services.


Both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose neurotic, psychotic and personality disorders and dysfunctions as well as neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions.  Only members of these two professions, by law, can make these diagnoses, whereas other healthcare professionals cannot.



Psychologists must have obtained a doctoral degree (Ph.D., Psy.D., or D.Ed.), where they have received in-depth specialized study in the assessment and psychosocial treatments of psychological problems.  The doctorate is preceded by Masters (two years) and Honours Bachelors (four years) degrees in psychology.  A one-year internship and one-year supervised practice period follow the doctorate degree in Ontario, plus the completion of three licensing exams.  In total, a minimum of 12 years of formal university study are typically required to achieve the doctorate degree and achieve licensure as a psychologist.


Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are physicians (M.D.) and have usually spent four years in medical school studying the biological/biochemical aspects of the human body as well as pharmacological/surgical treatments of various diseases and disorders (and two-plus years pre-medicine study).  Most physicians, regardless of specialty, go through the same training in medical school and postgraduate internship, before specializing during a residency.  A psychiatrist’s residency usually takes five years and includes further licensing exams.


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