Both psychologists and psychiatrists are mental health practitioners. Both require study, training, and certifications in their respective fields.
What do Psychologists Do?
Psychologists diagnose disorders (like ADHD, depression, PTSD, and anxiety). Through observation, surveys, and interviews, they identify behavioral, emotional, and organizational issues. They often use talk therapy and help people understand and manage symptoms.
One therapy approach used by psychologists is Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT helps to change or improve unhelpful or unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. It can be used to help treat OCD, Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. Providers at NAMHS offer multiple types of therapy.
What do Psychiatrists Do?
Psychiatrists can use talk therapy to treat patients but because psychiatrists are licensed as medical doctors, they can prescribe medications. They often work with patients who require medications: people with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, major depression, or schizophrenia. Psychologists will monitor patients’ improvements or watch for side effects. They use psychological tests, one-on-one evaluations, and lab tests to diagnose mental health conditions.
Is it Better to Work with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist?
When considering more severe mental health conditions — severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder—, working with a psychiatrist may be the best option as they can prescribe and adjust medications.
If you’re working through a life challenge or want help identifying and working through thoughts and behaviors, a psychologist might be the better option. Some people with anxiety and depression may find that both a psychiatrist and psychologist offer the right balance of treatment as they benefit from both medication and therapy.
Psychologist and Psychiatrists at NAMHS
North American Mental Health Services has a talented team of mental health professionals. Heather O’Connell, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in Redding. NAMHS also has several psychiatrists based in Redding, Eureka, and Fairfield.
Our mental health providers work with adults, teens, and children. They work with patients in-office and online through telehealth services, including online therapy. Contact our offices to learn more or schedule an appointment with one of our providers.