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I made a request to my psychiatrist asking to see a psychologist.  Their is a difference he told me with a little bit of disdain.  Slowly I heal.

I have been confused about this for a long time.  Psychiatrist versus psychologist.  Therapist is what then?

The internet defines the following:

psychiatrist:  a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.  He treats mental illness with medicine.

psychologist:  a mental health professional who evaluates and studies behavior and mental processes. an expert or specialist in psychology.  Psychology is more of a behaviorist approach.

therapist:  a social worker or a psychologist.

psychotherapy:  the treatment of mental disorder by psychological rather than medical means.

I thought that I was in therapy when I went to see my psychiatrist.  This is wrong.  A psychiatrist merely provides medication without talking about the issues underlying the condition.  My psychiatrist quickly told me in the past that he doesn’t do counseling.  Counseling is provided by therapy.  Therapy is provided by social workers or psychologists.  He also said that he dealt with medicine.  And that psychologists often didn’t support medicine.  So there’s a bit of attitude between the two professions.

If you want to talk about the underlying reason for your mental illness you have to go to counseling.  What I found however was that with social workers they didn’t want to talk about the nitty gritty details but rather talked in generalities.  I need to talk specifically about what happened to me and my reaction to it.  S P E C I F I C A L L Y.  I need to say it out loud over and over again so as to free my soul.  I feel this deep inside.  I know this because when I try to do mindfulness or meditation, thoughts of my abuse still come to me.  In an intimate way.  It’s not enough to talk in generalities if I want to be free of what happened.  If I want my mind to heal.  Therefore I need the help of a psychologist.  Be careful, they are expensive.  But if you are lucky your health benefits will pay for them.  The medication and my psychiatrist have calmed my anxiety.  But if I want to be free of the abuse in my mind, I have to talk about it to someone specialized in psychology.

I am a bit angry.  Why did I have to come to this realization by myself?  Why wasn’t it recommended right away?!  And I have been confused for a long time about the difference between the two.  Hence this post.  Please forgive me for the rant.

I’ve said it before.  It’s not enough to treat the symptoms.  You have to talk about the underlying cause of mental illness.  Therefore this means therapy.  Therefore this means that a psychologist AND a psychiatrist should be involved.  If you are currently under the care of a psychiatrist and need to talk about the reasons for your mental illness, then you need a social worker or a psychologist as well.  I would go so far as to say that you need a psychologist rather than a social worker.  Check if your benefits cover one.  Make an appointment today!

Keep fighting!  Slowly I heal.