Why did you become a psychiatrist

Difference between psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist

Are you interested in a psychological profession in health care? Psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist - that is the question here! All three terms are often used interchangeably, but that is wrong. What does a psychologist actually do, what is a psychotherapist and how do you become a psychiatrist? We explain the three job profiles to you and what their differences are!

They are often easy to confuse for beginners: the different job titles in psychology. Psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist - what does that actually mean? Are they just different names for one and the same job? Or are they completely different professions with different fields of activity? Can you do any job with a degree in psychology or do you need a special qualification or training depending on the job?

These and other questions are the focus of this article, because all terms and professions are closely related to psychotherapy and yet mean different areas of activity. In the following, we will get to the bottom of the tasks of psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists and explain to you which course you can take which path.

What does a psychologist do?

The term "psychologist" is legally protected and may only be used by peoplewho have previously completed a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology. This will turn you into a psychologist, but you are not yet allowed to treat mental illnesses. As a psychologist, you can then complete training as a therapist in order to later be able to help mentally ill people. Prerequisite for this: You must have completed a master's degree in psychology with a focus on clinical psychology or a degree in clinical psychology.

As a psychologist, you are not a doctor and are therefore not allowed to perform therapies or prescribe medication. But you can also work in many fields of work without training as a therapist. Psychologists are also in demand as experts in business, marketing, advertising, various advice centers or the health sector. With an educational focus, you can work as a school psychologist or go into the legal field as a forensic psychologist.

In addition to diagnostics, psychological counseling is one of the basic tasks of psychologists, regardless of the industry.

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What does a psychotherapist do?

The job title psychotherapist is short for Psychological psychotherapist. You will become this when you complete a multi-year training as a therapist after studying psychology with a focus on clinical psychology with a master’s degree. Only then can you apply for a license to practice medicine (state approval to practice a medical profession) and you can treat patients with their psychological problems. For this reason, this additional training after graduation is essential for later work as a therapist. Incidentally, training to become a psychotherapist is regulated in the Psychotherapists Act.

As a psychotherapist, you are responsible for all disorders and illnesses that can be remedied with the help of therapies, discussions and special exercises. These include, for example, compulsions, depressive moods, addictions or complexes. A distinction is made between child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychological psychotherapists for adults.

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What does a psychiatrist do?

A psychiatrist is a Specialist in psychiatry or psychotherapy. As a psychiatrist, you have completed a medical degree and are a doctor. After completing your medical degree, you must complete further training as a specialist in order to be admitted to the field of psychiatry or psychotherapy. As a trained psychiatrist, you will be engaged in the medical diagnosis, treatment and research of mental illnesses and you are also authorized to prescribe medication to your patients to help them with their problems.

As a psychiatrist, you mainly deal with the physical diagnosis and treatment of mentally ill people. You ask physical and medical causes of mental illness and malfunctions and try to remedy them through treatment with medication. A psychiatrist rarely offers psychotherapy.