Should You See a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or Both?
There is no simple answer to this question, but you can make a better decision if you have some information about what these professionals can legally do and how they tend to work. In general terms, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe and manage medication, while a psychologist often cannot prescribe medication and is more likely to conduct psychotherapy. Unfortunately, based on the amount of need in the community, psychiatrists often have limited time to conduct psychotherapy and may dedicate sessions to determining and adjusting medication used to treat mental health issues.
Depending on the type of mental health concern, many people start their journey with a psychologist. A psychologist helps to determine whether therapy will be enough, and if appropriate, provide a diagnosis based on symptoms. If research supported, a psychologist may bring up that medication may augment the effects of therapy, and the psychologist may suggest a medication consult with a psychiatrist. If you elect and see both professionals, they consult with one another on your behalf to help.