Psychiatry vs. Psychotherapy: Which One Do You Need?

A therapist treating a couple

It’s a common mistake to confuse psychologists and psychiatrists as both the titles sound eerily similar. Furthermore, both these professionals are trained to deal with mental health issues. It’s understandable if a person might think that they’re just two different fancy names for the same thing.

However, psychologists and psychiatrists aren’t the same at all. Both professionals receive different training and education and have varying roles in treating mental health issues. They both deal with mental health issues, which is the main overlap between the two.

Psychiatry vs. Psychotherapy: How They Are Different

As we already discussed, both the professionals have different educational backgrounds and receive different training. Psychiatrists receive a medical degree as well as advanced qualifications through residency and a specialty in psychiatry. They rely on talk therapy, medications, as well as several other treatments to address patients with mental health issues.

On the other hand, psychologists usually have an advanced degree, usually a PsyD or Ph.D. They commonly use talk therapy to address patients with mental health issues. They can also act as consultants alongside other healthcare providers or deal with therapy for the entire treatment program.

However, it’s worth mentioning that both psychiatrists and psychologists require a license to practice in a particular area. Psychiatrists and psychologists also rely on different tools when it comes to treating mental health issues. Oftentimes, they work in different environments. Let’s take a deeper look into how the two are different.


Psychiatrists have numerous options available when it comes to where they can work. Private practices, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, university medical centers, prisons, hospice programs, and rehabilitation programs are some of these options.

A psychiatrist prescribing medication to a patient

Psychiatrists typically deal with mental health issues requiring medications. These include anxiety disorders, ADHD, bipolar disorders, major depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia. Psychiatrists diagnose mental health issues through psychological tests, evaluations, and lab tests.


While psychologists also work with people having mental health issues, they usually diagnose conditions using surveys, observations, and interviews. One main difference between the two is that psychologists can’t prescribe medications. However, five states in the US (Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, New Mexico, and Louisiana) allow this with proper additional qualifications. While psychologists can work in the same settings as psychiatrists, they mainly rely on talk therapy for treatment.

Get The Best Mental Health Treatment with Ziks Health Services

If you’re confused about whether you need a psychologist or psychiatrist, we can help you figure out your mental health issue and ensure you get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

At Ziks Health Services, we offer comprehensive mental health services and treatment in New Mexico and Texas. Contact now to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

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