What is the difference between a visit to a psychiatrist and a meeting with a psychologist?

What is psychiatry?

Psychiatry is an area of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, maladaptive behaviors and brain diseases. A psychiatrist is interested in a variety of mental disorders, from Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, autism to affective disorders such as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Medical education enables psychiatrists to perceive the patient’s problem holistically, to take into account the impact of physiological processes and pathologies on the mental state, and provides a wide range of therapeutic tools (including pharmacotherapy).

Typically, psychiatrists develop professionally in medical facilities or work closely with them. The main areas of psychiatry are: addiction psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and neuropsychiatry. Some psychiatrists from Krakow, on the other hand, devote themselves exclusively to scientific research. However, this is rare, because a good psychiatrist is primarily a doctor with experience in working with patients.

What does psychiatric help look like?

Each psychiatrist begins treatment with a thorough interview with the patient, covering primarily symptoms, personal, family and medical history. In some cases, it is also necessary to take into account physiological factors, which is why sometimes a psychiatrist from our center in Krakow may refer the patient for, for example, a blood test. After a comprehensive assessment of the person’s condition, the psychiatrist can provide guidance on the causes and nature of the disease and offer effective therapeutic methods, according to the patient’s needs.

The range of treatment methods used by a psychiatrist is much wider than it seems. Psychiatrists have access to various therapeutic tools: psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, physiotherapy. Increasingly, research in the field of psychiatry emphasizes the role of the interaction of physical factors and mental state. Research in this area helps to better understand the relationship between environmental conditions and mental well-being. The research results inspire psychiatrists to design more and more effective methods of treatment.

Differences between the practice of a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

Both psychiatrists and clinical psychologists deal with the reduction of mental suffering, alleviating distress, and aim to improve the functioning of the patient. Psychologists and psychiatrists are qualified professionals licensed in the country where they practice. Mental health research and the development of new therapeutic tools are the tasks of both psychologists and psychiatrists.

The difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist lies primarily in the tools that specialists have at their disposal. Both psychiatrists and psychodynamic psychotherapists can conduct therapy. In addition to psychotherapy, a psychiatrist is authorized to prescribe medications. Such a difference means that currently very often a psychiatrist does not use all the tools available to him, he is limited only to pharmacotherapy, and when psychotherapeutic support is necessary – he sends the patient to a psychotherapist.

A psychiatrist at the Synapsa Malopolska Psychotherapy Center in Krakow approaches patients individually: he does not apply for pharmacotherapy when it is not necessary; willingly uses psychotherapy as a method of treatment when it is effective.

Although a psychodynamic psychologist is not authorized to prescribe drugs, he is very good at conducting therapy involving other tools. Psychology is a field deeply rooted in philosophy, which makes psychologists perceive the problem in a multidisciplinary way. Knowledge of the development of the mind and the nature of consciousness, the development of emotions and cognition, the development and nature of personality, allows psychologists to thoroughly analyze disorders in the mental sphere.

A psychologist-psychotherapist in Krakow, thanks to extensive knowledge, holistic approach, experience in working with patients and analytical thinking, can provide valuable tips on the mental functioning of the patient.