Understanding the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist

It is common to see a lot of people loosely use words such as psychologists and psychiatrists without understanding the difference between the two. Often, individuals who are not clear about the distinction between the two also are caught between choosing the right treatment – medication vs psychotherapy. How are they different and when is it recommended?

In this blog, Dr. Manish Bajapayee, one of the best psychiatrists in Pune, offers his two cents on the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist and the different types of conditions they treat,


Psychologists are professionals who have attained a specialized degree that is also known as a doctorate. The course takes around five years to complete after the undergraduate studies. Psychologists that primarily specialize in assisting individuals suffering from concerns related to family, personality, relationships, mental illness, and other psychological concerns are known as clinical psychologists. In addition, the educational training of a psychologist is predominantly focused on understanding mental illness and the different approaches deployed to treat the same. As clinical psychologists are highly trained and educated regarding the different aspects of mental illness, they are recommended to diagnose and treat a host of mental disorders.


Psychiatrists are physicians who have specialized in psychiatry study and have a conventional medical degree (M.D.) or an osteopathic degree (O.D.), a course that typically lasts for around four years wherein individuals grasp the basics of medicine, human functions, understand the diagnostic techniques, and learn about the various types of laboratory testing. After completing medical school, psychiatrists spend another three to four years to understand and learn about the medications, mental illness, and different psychotherapy techniques. The residency program is a mix of both – classroom training as well as hands-on training in a hospital. Further, as psychiatrists are also medical doctors, they can prescribe medication to their patients.

One of the most distinct advantages between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication, whereas a psychologist offers psychotherapy. If you are looking for a psychiatrist in Pune, get in touch with Dr. Manish Bajpayee and schedule an appointment!

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