The Mental Healthcare Landscape: The Specialists & Their Differences

There are multiple specialists working in mental healthcare and it’s very easy to feel lost in regard to their different designations:
– Psychologist;
– Psychiatrist;
– Psychotherapist.

What are really their specific training and specialty?

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist has first of all studied psychology in college, which is considered as being a branch of human science. Psychology is a complex and various topic, which counts many different theoretical schools of thought and practices around the notion of psychic state. Most of the psychologists are specialized with the notions of psychopathology, personality, and interpersonal relationships. The psychologist operates in various domains such as education, mental health, justice, and workplace to assess and improve mental well-being.

Some psychologists are specialized in psychotherapy, which is a post-graduate certificate which gives them a method to approach closely the functioning of the human mind and therefore treat many different mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, traumas, etc. There is no need to have a mental disease to start a psychotherapy, daily life problems can also be the starting point to jump into this process and start a journey, which will considerably increase self-awareness.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Both psychiatrist and psychologist are trained in mental health disorders. There is first a difference in their education as a psychologist does have a degree in psychology as mentioned above and a psychiatrist has a degree in medicine. Another difference is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication, as psychologists cannot.

What is a Psychotherapist?

Most of the time, psychotherapists are either psychologists either psychiatrists. As mentioned above, it’s a post-graduation diploma that can be done after medical school or after a diploma in psychology. They are many different kinds of psychotherapists but the three main schools of thought are psychoanalytic also called psychodynamic, systemic or family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is a type of treatment based on the theories of Dr. Sigmund Freud who is considered as being the forefather of psychoanalysis. According to this theory, the loss of meaning and discordance that a patient is experiencing in his life comes from repressed elements from the past that are guiding unconsciously the patient’s life. It means that the patient is not the principal actor in his life anymore. The repressed patterns are driving his life and his relationships.
The relationship with the psychotherapist is a crucial element in the psychotherapy. It offers a confidential and private setting where the patient’s unconscious patterns can find a way to express themselves and become conscious. That will free the patient from his past and help him recover his subjectivity.

Systemic Therapy

This form of therapy does address not only individuals but is also trying to focus on the understanding of the group’s interactions and characteristics in which the individual lives. These therapies assess the psychological and behavioral disorders of a member of a group as a result of the dysfunction of the group itself, the system. Most of the time, this group is the family but it can be extended to larger groups such as a corporate’s dysfunction. They can be done individually or as a group as the systemic mode of thinking believes that is not always necessary to convene all group to operate a change. The individual can learn to change is own functioning which can, therefore, have repercussions on the functioning of the other members of the group.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral psychotherapies are a group of treatments for psychiatric disorders in which therapy should be based on knowledge of psychological science. The therapist must obey relatively standardized protocols and often evaluates the patient’s progress during therapy. It accepts the medical approach based on facts. CBT have the peculiarity to address the patient’s difficulties in the ‘here and now’ through practical exercises focusing on the symptoms observed through behavior and coaching by the therapist who seeks to intervene in mental processes known as cognitive processes.

About Psychologist In Dubai

Vanessa Bokanowski is the Psychologist In Dubai & licensed counselor with a diploma in clinical psychology providing psychotherapies in French and English to:

  • Adults
  • Adolescents
  • Parents
  • Couples
  • Projective Tests

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