Having studied and been around the subject of psychology for a while now, the most common question asked besides ‘can you read my mind’, is to know the difference between Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology.
The simple answer is, psychiatrists are trained medical doctors, and prescribe medications. They spend much of their time on medication management and a course of treatment.Their education experience is in medicine, and their residencies have primarily been in psychiatric units in hospitals treating patients with severe mental health difficulties.
Clinical Psychologists on the other hand focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with talking therapies and behavioural interventions. They are also qualified to conduct psychological testing, which is critical in assessing a person’s mental state and determine the most effective treatment. Psychologists have to study and specialise for their career up to graduate school, learning how to diagnose and formulate mental and emotional difficulties in people, along with internships of 1-3 years under supervision. There are several types of therapies according to different orientations within Clinical Psychology such as Cognitive behavioural Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy etc.
Clinical psychology is similar to Counselling psychology. The main difference is that clinical psychologists normally treat patients who suffer from more serious disorders than counselling psychologists do.
When seeking help for your difficulties, it is important that you understand these differences, find out about their effectiveness, side effects, consequences, process etc.. and make an informed choice as to which path would best suit your journey to recovery.