A therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist are all mental health professionals who can provide therapeutic treatment for mental health conditions. However, there are some key differences between these professionals.
A therapist is a general term for a mental health professional who provides treatment for mental health conditions. This can include licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Therapists typically have a master's or doctoral degree in their field and are trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or solution-focused therapy.
A psychologist is a mental health professional who has earned a doctoral degree in psychology. Psychologists are trained in the science of behavior and mental processes, and are qualified to diagnose and treat mental health conditions using a variety of therapeutic approaches. Psychologists may also conduct research and teach at universities.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of mental health conditions. Unlike therapists and psychologists, psychiatrists are trained in the use of medication to treat mental health conditions, in addition to providing therapy. Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication for mental health conditions. In summary, the main difference between a therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist is their level of education and training, as well as the type of treatment they can provide. A therapist typically has a master's degree, a psychologist has a doctoral degree, and a psychiatrist is a medical doctor. A therapist and psychologist can provide therapy, while a psychiatrist can also prescribe medication.