What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

A Psychologist has extensive training in mental health and is a Member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Typically, a Registered Clinical Psychologist has completed both a Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) in Psychology and supervised clinical internships as part of his or her training. This training can take upwards of 12 years to complete. A Psychologist has also passed rigorous licensure requirements, including written and oral exams, with the College. Generally speaking, Psychologists utilize psychological approaches (e.g., skills training, cognitive and emotional interventions, insight-oriented exploration) in the context of “talk therapy” with their clients to help them in dealing with their areas of concern.

A Psychiatrist is a Physician, (a medical doctor) who has undergone additional training (a residency) to become a specialist in mental health diagnosis and treatment. Psychiatrists, by their training, tend to focus on medical (disease) models of illness and treatment and often rely on medication as a first-line strategy to manage symptoms.

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