When distinguishing between psychiatry vs clinical psychology, what's the difference? We explain exactly what each is in this guide.

Psychiatry vs Clinical Psychology: What’s the Difference?

Looking for a career in helping others? Want to understand why people think, act, and feel the way they do? Perhaps you are interested in how the brain works and what disorders or conditions are.

There are two professions that deal with these issues, psychiatry and clinical psychology. But what is the difference between psychiatry vs clinical psychology?

This article will dive into the differences between the two professions, highlighting their history, education, scopes, and job duties.


Psychology vs Psychiatry

Psychiatry vs clinical psychology are two distinct but related fields. Both focus on mental health, but they take different approaches to diagnosis and treatment.


This is a medical field that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatric disorders are diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Treatment typically includes medication but may also include psychotherapy. Find more here if you need any professional help.

Clinical Psychology

This is a branch of psychology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. Clinical psychologists use a variety of tools to assess and treat their clients. They also do psychological testing, interviews, and observational techniques.

They may also use various types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to treat their clients.

The Training and Experience of Each

The training and experience of each profession are different. Psychiatrists must complete medical school and complete a residency in psychiatry. Clinical psychologists must complete a doctoral degree in psychology.

Psychiatrists are better equipped to diagnose and treat mental illness while clinical psychologists are better equipped to provide psychological services, such as therapy.

The Scope of Practice for Each

The scope of practice for a psychiatrist is much broader than that of a clinical psychologist. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and provide other medical treatments.

A clinical psychologist has a narrower scope of practice and is not able to prescribe medication.

Which One Is Right for You?

So, which one is right for you? If you are suffering from a mental illness, then seeing a psychiatrist may be a better fit. But if you are seeking therapy to treat a mental illness, a clinical psychologist may be a better fit.

If you’re unsure, it is a good idea to speak to your primary care physician or a mental health professional to get some guidance.

The Future of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology

The future of psychiatry or clinical psychology will likely see more collaboration between the two fields. As our understanding of mental health grows, so too will our ability to effectively treat it.

Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists can help people live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Choose Between Psychiatry vs Clinical Psychology Now

It is important to understand the difference between psychiatry vs clinical psychology. This is to know which one is right for you. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with the assessment and treatment of mental illness.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the rest of our blog for more related content. 

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