Clinical Psychologists Versus Psychiatrists - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1215 Words
Date:  2022-12-04


Clinical psychologists are trained individuals with capacity to integrate scientific knowledge, theories, and the clinical ideas to understand, analyze and help cure the psychological malfunctioning and promote wellness (Wellingham, Emily 1215). On the other hand, psychiatrists refer to those trained medical professionals responsible for diagnosing, preventing, and treating patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrists can administer pharmaceuticals to patients because they are medical doctors while most clinical psychologists may not. Both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists have the basic understanding on how the brain works, and have the capacity to treat mental complications. However, psychiatrists are more of medical doctors with proper training from medical schools before they major on mental health. As much as the two categories may have different responsibilities, it is imperative to note that both of them work for the same patient population.

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This paper seeks to highlight some of the most significant aspects of both careers regarding their responsibilities, areas practice, salaries, and a brief analysis on why one would choose clinical psychology over psychiatry.

There are various similarities in client populations that both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists deal with in their line of duty. Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists always work jointly in health facilities but at different levels. Normally the two of them handle the same client population in the medical process. Clinical psychologists handle the talking or counseling therapy for patients diagnosed with mental disorders (Wellingham, Emily 1214). The kind of therapy they give is always about the cognitive and behavioral aspects of mental health. However, Psychiatrists are the primary medical handlers of the same psychological patients first time. They would always examine patients, conduct diagnosis and give medication. However, if a patient needs a psychological therapy, he refers the patient to a clinical psychologist. Many people are quite unsure of whether to contact a psychiatrist or medical psychologists since both of them handle matters of mental health.

Clinical psychologists get salaries of different levels depending on their level of education, work experience and the type of organizations that employ them (Clinical Psychologist, 2008). For example, the highest earning lot of clinical psychologists part with between $ 80,500 and 100,500 per year. This category of clinical psychologists can be heading various psychology departments in an organization. The consultant clinical psychologists earn an average salary between $ 55,600 and 83, 300 per annum. Others with moderate qualifications may earn around $ 48,500 and 58, 200 per annum. Psychiatrists undergo more thorough training in medical schools that can go up to 11 years. Therefore, their salaries are slightly higher than those of clinical psychologists are. The standard average salary for psychiatrists is around $128 for every one hour. That reflects to approximately $ 199, 900 per year. However, their salaries and allowances may also depend on the organization where one works and the responsibilities they handle.

Clinical psychologists perform various tasks and practices within the healthcare setting. They primarily examine patient's behaviors using different approaches such as the psychometric tests, observations, and direct interviews with clients. They can diagnose a patient and design a treatment plan often with the help of a psychiatrist. They equally have a responsibility of administering counseling or talking therapy and monitoring of clients in collaboration with other colleagues. Clinical psychologists with higher experience can also assume the role of an expert witness and make reports with legal bearing in matters of forensic cases. However, psychiatrists may work with children and adolescents in collaboration with their families to treat various mental illnesses. In adolescent and child psychiatry, they conduct diagnosis and treat problems such as eating disorders and substance misuse, depression, and autism spectrum disorders (Andrews, Linda 107). Being medical doctors, psychiatrists also handle problems of geriatric nature among the elderly patients. They treat the older people with age-specific complications.

Psychological practice today has developed an integrative approach of administering treatments to patients. The integrative system involves selecting and combining different methods that best suit the unique needs of a particular client. Just like the evidence-based practice, the integrative approach encompasses various diagnostic features, culture diversity of patients, and preferences. In that context, it enhances the effectiveness of therapy and the relationship. Since psychiatry is about treating mental illnesses, the treatment approaches always take a multidisciplinary angle. They categorize psychiatric problems into three groups such as insanity, sexual victims, and victims of alcohol and drug substances. The treatment approaches can be different depending on the nature of mental problem a patient has. In most cases, psychiatrists combine the psychotherapy and medication for treatment to be effective (Psychiatrist, 2008). The hospitalization approach of treatment is equally effective with patients that require close monitoring. Such patients may need an adjustment of medication in case the illness gets worse.

Based on my career goals, I think that clinical psychology would be my ultimate profession for a number of reasons. First of all, the training is not as much time-consuming as psychiatry. I will spend only six years in my undergraduate program to get the right qualifications, unlike psychiatry that takes more than ten years to qualify as a medical doctor. Again, I have a natural calling to help people restore their deteriorating conditions. Clinical psychology will enable me to interact with many patients with mental health issues so that I can personally administer therapy to help them to recover from such illnesses. During my clinical practice, I will be able to interact with many professionals and learn to improve on my skills and experience. As a result of interaction, I will equally get the best platform to conduct research on how to understand both cognitive and behavioral aspects of a human's life.


In conclusion, mental health is the core of humanity since it is the brain functioning that informs how we think and behave. Clinical psychology and psychiatry are two different careers but which target the same patient populations with mental complications. Clinical psychologists play a critical role in restoring both cognitive and behavioral health of patients such as depression, stress, anxiety, and delirium disorders. Psychiatrists on the other hand, have a deeper understanding on the medical and biological aspects of patients. Therefore, the two professions are essential in healthcare since they offer variety of methods and approaches of dealing with our psychological and emotional health. I would suggest that all medical institutions should enhance mental health departments and equip them with qualified professionals to help cure the mental disorders, which are on the rise by the day.

Works Cited

"Clinical Psychologist." A-Z of Careers & Jobs, edited by Susan Hodgson, 15th ed., Kogan Page, 2008, p. 340. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 26 Mar. 2019.

"Psychiatrist." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, edited by Laurie J. Fundukian and Jeffrey Wilson, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2008, p. 924. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 26 Mar. 2019.

Andrews, Linda Wasmer. "Clinical Psychologist." Encyclopedia of Depression, vol. 1, Greenwood Press, 2010, pp. 105-107. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 26 Mar. 2019.

Willingham, Emily Jane. "Psychiatrist." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, edited by Kristin Key, 3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2012, pp. 1214-1215. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 26 Mar. 2019.

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