Frequently Asked Questions About Psychiatrists And Therapists

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Raise your hand if you have been worrying about having anxiety for some time now!

This feeling is familiar for people with undiagnosed anxiety. You have possibly scoured every mental health website you can find; you have most – if not all – the symptoms written there. However, you cannot get a diagnosis because you do not know if you should contact a psychiatrist or therapist first.

Distinguishing The Two Occupations

I had the same ordeal many years ago. I decided to move across the country right after getting my master’s degree to prove that I could make it in the real world without my parents’ influence and financial support. I was okay living off my savings for the first couple of months as I looked for a job. However, when the third month came, and I was down to my last $2,000, I began to experience panic attacks, especially when I was lying in bed at night. I kept thinking, “What if I couldn’t find work in the coming weeks? Would I have to live in my car? Worse, would I need to swallow my pride and ask for help from Mom and Dad?”

During one of my sane days, I looked up the symptoms of anxiety. My old psychology professor touched the subject when I was in high school, but it was so long ago that I could barely remember everything. When I read its telltale signs (e.g., excessive worrying, agitation, lack of concentration, insomnia, etc.), I panicked again because I recognized all of them, Me. But I eventually decided to push my worries aside and decide to see a mental health professional handle my situation.

I did not know who to ask for referrals in my new city, so I drove around every block, looking for a mental health clinic. Perhaps it was my lucky day as the first thing I found was a hospital with a psychiatric department. Though I felt embarrassed to ask for directions toward the psychiatrist’s office, I made the correct decision, given that only a psychiatrist – or a psychologist – could provide a diagnosis, not a therapist. It only took two sessions before the psychiatrist confirmed that I had anxiety, which was a product of my situation. She suggested therapy to me, and it cleared my head and allowed me to look at my other job opportunities until I found the most suitable one for me.

If you wish to learn more about psychiatrists and therapists, I will break everything down for you below.

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Should I see a psychiatrist or therapist?

You should see a therapist if a psychologist says you need therapy to cope with your mental disorder. Many psychologists offer this treatment, but not all. Meanwhile, you should check with a psychiatrist if the therapy sessions do not work or suffice and you are in need of medication. Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can write prescriptions since they are medical doctors.

Is a psychologist a therapist?

No, it is wrong to say that a psychologist is a therapist since that implies that the two are synonymous. The reality is that psychologists can become therapists – provided that they obtain the right training and certification. Still, not all psychologists choose to be therapists; that’s why you see people looking for the latter even when they already know the former.

Should I see a therapist or psychiatrist for anxiety?

Seeing a therapist is recommended during an early diagnosis of anxiety, considering the patient only has a tough time dealing with specific scenarios. It entails that helping them alter their lifestyle or way of thinking may still work. However, if the anxiety transcends an individual’s ordinary habits and affects their relationships, work, and daily life, they may need to see a psychiatrist ASAP. That way, the mental health professional may prescribe calming or sleeping pills and ease their symptoms.

What are the three types of therapy?

  • Psychodynamic Therapy: It is the most conventional therapy type that aims to dig deep into your mind to know what causes your issues. Psychodynamic therapists basically want you to analyze your way of thinking and emotions to know when your mental disorder will attack.
  • Behavioral Therapy: When you get behavioral therapy, the mental health professional will not spend much time finding the root of your problems. Instead, they will determine how you react to specific situations and help you improve those reactions. For instance, if you often freak out in the middle of a crowd, the therapist may teach you how to recognize your behavior and stabilize it so that you can pass through that crowd without a hitch.
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  • Humanistic Therapy: This type encourages the patient to think of the best way to solve their problems, with the guiding idea that they know what’s best for them. From the beginning, the therapist will welcome everything you think may work on your disorder. Their role is to be your sounding board and actively listen to you until you develop an excellent decision.

What do psychologists make annually?

New psychologists typically make up to $60,000 per year. For seasoned mental health professionals, it may go from $80,000 to $120,000, depending on their location and clientele.

Is a psychologist better than a therapist?

Being a psychologist or therapist has its pros and cons, so it’s impossible to determine which one is better. After all, a psychologist spends years in school to diagnose mental disorders, and some therapists who didn’t study psychology can do that. At the same time, psychologists cannot do what therapists do, especially if they did not train to become one.

What should I not tell a psychiatrist?

There is ideally nothing you should hide from a psychiatrist, considering you are getting their services to help you deal with your mental condition. Anything you do may affect your disorder; not telling the psychiatrist everything may keep them from being able to help you entirely. Nevertheless, your story should focus on what they are asking.

What are the four types of talk therapy?

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CB therapists pay attention to how a person reacts to a particular thought and how their reaction changes when they alter their way of thinking. This type of therapy is considered short-term since it can end after six sessions if the patient shows improvement at once.
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  • Dialectic Behavioral Therapy: It is a combination of meditation and cognitive-behavioral techniques. Psychologists typically recommend DBT to individuals who cannot stop binge-eating or deal with personality disorders. They can choose between group or one-on-one therapy. 
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapists encourage you to travel back down memory lane in hopes of helping you figure out where things have gone wrong (or right). This way, you can understand how everything started, as well as what happy memories you can tap into.
  • Humanistic Therapy: This type of talk therapy aims to make you bring out your full potential without much external help. Yes, a therapist will be in the room with you, talking to you, but they will not force any idea on you. Instead, they will listen as you think of various approaches to your problems, support your views, and stay on your side if you need to try again.

What is the most common therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most well-known type of talk therapy. According to a study, 38% of the individuals who booked a therapist between 2013 and 2014 asked CBT as a treatment.

Does seeing a psychiatrist go on your record?

Yes, your appointment with a psychiatrist will be on your record permanently, although some hospitals may promise to separate it from your medical record. The reason is that doctors have only sworn to keep their patients’ conditions hidden from regular people, but they need to be truthful about it to their peers. This way, when you visit another doctor, they will know your current diagnosis and start from there instead of going back to square one.

Final Thoughts

Did I worry about my future employers seeing my mental health record? Of course, I did at some point. Some people still believed in stigmas without understanding circumstances, and many had fallen victim to such an issue. However, I admitted early that my sanity was far more important than others’ opinions. Seeing my psychiatrist and my therapist undoubtedly helped me get into that mental state, so my self-esteem did not waver after my diagnosis.

In case you get diagnosed with a mental health disorder like me, you should cooperate with the mental health professionals well to return to your normal life soon. Good luck!