Here’s a simple guide you can use to help you make your way through this maze.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specialises in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. They are the only ones qualified to prescribe medicines for chronic problems. They also monitor the effects of mental illness on other physical conditions (such as problems with the heart or high blood pressure), and the effects of medicines on the body (such as weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, sleep, and kidney or liver functioning). Many mental disorders — such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, or bipolar disorder — can be treated effectively with specific drugs. Sometimes a combination of medication and psychotherapy or counselling is needed.
A psychologist has a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) in psychology, which is the study of the mind and behaviours. Licensed psychologists are qualified to do counselling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment. Psychologists cannot write prescriptions or perform medical procedures.
A psychological counsellor is a professional who has completed counselling courses, certifications in psychology or a related field. A counsellor helps to evaluate and treat problems by providing counselling or psychotherapy. Although the terms counselling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counselling. Counselling focuses on specific issues and is designed to help a person address a particular problem, such as addiction or stress management. The focus may be on problem solving or on learning specific techniques for coping with or avoiding problem areas. Counselling is also usually more short-term than therapy.
Psychotherapy is more long-term than counselling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person’s patterns of thinking and behaviour affect the way that person interacts with the world. Depending on the specific type of psychotherapy that is being used, the goal is to help people feel better equipped to manage stresses, understand patterns in their behaviour that may interfere with reaching personal goals, have more satisfying relationships, and better regulate their thinking and emotional responses to stressful situations. There are various forms and techniques for therapy like Cognitive therapy, expressive art therapy as popular few.
Where do you start? You can meet a counsellor or therapist to do an initial assessment. Based on your assessment they will either refer you to other experts if required.
Article Source: WebMD