Difference no. 1: The medical model versus case formulation
Psychiatrists I have worked with in Sydney conduct an assessment session that aims to understand the interplay between the biological, psychological and social factors that go to the individual’s well-being. They usually end the session with a test diagnosis. They may decide to prescribe medication based on both the diagnosis, medical guidelines for that diagnosis and the biopsychosocial factors for the person.
Psychologists will use an assessment session to develop a case formulation. Psychologists are not medically trained and do not prescribe medication. Instead, they are trained in the interplay between behavior, cognition (one’s inner world of thoughts, memories and attention processes), coping strategies used by an individual, and the problems they face. They plan how time in and out of sessions can best be used to make changes in behavior patterns, mindsets, attention processes or how to deal with their emotions.
Difference # 2: Education and Education of Psychiatrists
Before psychiatrists receive specialized training in psychiatry, they obtain a medical degree and pursue medical studies in addition to a family doctor. After completing their medical studies, they undergo specialized training as a psychiatrist for at least five years before becoming a counseling psychiatrist. Psychiatrists in Australia are usually members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists – the acronym RANZCP in the list of qualifications means this.
Licensed psychologists have undergraduate studies in psychology or behavioral science. They must complete a research thesis in their fourth and final year of study. A psicologo online must then complete at least two additional years of training and improve their clinical assessment and treatment skills. Many graduate in at least four years of specialization. This is somewhat similar to the psychography program, in that it involves intensive time of hand training, exams, completed research dissertation and numerous courses. Psychologists advertised as clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists or organizational psychologists have taken this training. The abbreviation MPsych or DPsych in the list of qualified psychologists indicates that specialized postgraduate studies have taken place.
Difference # 3: How they treat mental health in the daily work of Psychiatrists
In the Australian system, private psychiatrists often control some aspects of their mental health. They tend to decide which medication the patient is taking. They give an opinion on changes in drugs and supplements. They provide guidance on the psychological and lifestyle aspects of a patient’s life. Some will provide ‘speech therapy’ or counseling, but most psychologists, counselors or social workers tend to fully treat that area. Psychiatrists often act as ‘managers’ of treatment and communicate with GPs and psychologists about treatment plans.
Many psychiatrists also work as ‘counselors’ in hospitals and community health services around Australia and provide medical decisions for patients who are hospitalized or admitted to outpatient clinics. There are other roles that a psychiatrist could play, but this is what I have pointed out as the core issues of the daily work of most psychiatrists in Australia.
In private practice, most psychologists conduct assessments, case studies and speech therapy. Speech training varies according to the category used by the psychologist and it is often easy to find the form of treatment by searching the psychologist’s profile information online. Most sessions range from 45 to 60 minutes. With regard to psychiatrists generally see more serious cases on the spectrum of mental health compared to psychologists, if the individual’s circumstances are particularly complex or require review of adequate medication, a psychologist often begins to work alongside a psychiatrist. That is, the psychiatrist will control the biological aspects of the treatment and the psychologist will control the social and psychological aspects.
Psychologists are also trained in psychological exams and there are often several psychologists working in the private sector who specialize in this area. This will include tests to determine learning difficulties, neurological activity, concentration problems or memory problems. It is a good idea to talk to your GP about these problems before visiting a psychologist for a test.