Your mental health matters. If you’re looking to put time, money, emotion and trust with someone, please make sure they are the correct professional for you and your needs. With this in mind, lets look at the main differences between Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Life Coaches.
First up, psychiatrists. They have a medical degree and not only can they provide a formal diagnosis for conditions such as ADHD, Schizophrenia, BPD etc, but can also prescribe medication and manage the full treatment of care, through a combination of therapy and medication if needed. A minimum of 12 years training is required to be a psychiatrist.
Psychologists are similar to psychiatrists but with no medical degree. This means they cannot prescribe medication, but they do have the training to make a formal diagnosis. They will use therapy to help the client, and refer on to a psychiatrist if and when needed. A minimum of 6 years training is required to be a psychologist.
Psychotherapists also have no medical degree, so cannot prescribe medication, and do not make a formal diagnosis. Instead, they use a combination of different talk therapies to help a client with mental illness or any issues they may be having. They will refer on to a psychiatrist or psychologist if further intervention, or a formal diagnosis is required. To become an accredited psychotherapist it takes on average 6-7 years, depending on the length of time it takes the professional to complete their mandatory 450 client hours, post qualification.
Life Coaches have no medical degree, so cannot prescribe medication nor make a diagnosis. They are not trained to deal with mental illness such as anxiety, depression etc. They are more forward thinking and can help with issues such as a career change, and life direction. Courses range from 6 weeks in length, and onwards.
Pick the right professional for you, and your needs. As always, make sure you check out someone’s qualifications. For myself, I am registered with the IACP and currently awaiting formal confirmation of Accreditation (any day now!). If you’re unsure, please contact me in the strictest confidence and I will try my best to point you in the right direction.