Sometimes, when we finally commit to looking for help, what we find just complicates things. Indeed, what most people know about therapy, they’ve learned from TV and movies. In films, whenever someone needs help with addiction or mental health treatment, they see a psychiatrist or therapist. It doesn’t matter what title the script gives to that particular character, as long as the story moves along. In real life, however, psychiatrist vs. therapist involves many distinctions, academically as well as in practice. The titles are not interchangeable.
Psychiatrist vs. Therapist
Along the road to recovery, you will learn that several people are involved in your drug or alcohol rehabilitation. Individualized care and treatment planning require many specialties. It is helpful to know who is who and what roles they will play in your recovery. Undoubtedly, psychiatrist vs. therapist is often the most understood.
You have probably seen movie stars portray psychiatrists in films, like Richard Dreyfus in ‘What About Bob?” and Billy Crystal in “Analyze This.” Of course, these are just silly characters in comedy films. Psychiatrists in real life are medical doctors that choose a specialty in psychiatry and continue their education with five more years of internship and residency training. Psychiatrists play a significant role in the process of recovery, especially with dual diagnosis therapy patients. Typically, in a rehab situation, a psychiatrist, having a medical degree, will diagnose physical and mental health issues. They will take the lead, prescribing medications if necessary, and work with a team to create a treatment plan. Rarely, will a psychiatrist counsel or provide therapy for a patient in rehab.
Most likely, in both inpatient and outpatient programs, patients will engage in group and individual counseling with a therapist. A therapist might be a counselor, psychologist, psychotherapist, or even a social worker. Professionals that practice talk therapy with patients, regardless of their specific education or title, are considered therapists. Titles and state licensing requirements may differ. However, qualified mental health specialists who have achieved a master’s degree can offer therapy. The primary role of a therapist is to engage with patients and assist them in working through their mental health issues and problems with addiction.
In Rehab It’s Never Psychiatrist vs. Therapist
Usually, when a patient enters medical detox, there are many things to address in addition to substance abuse. During an intake assessment, many questions are asked about a patient’s physical and mental health, as well as medical history. This information is vital to treatment, not only in medical detox but also moving forward in rehab. Knowledge of the patient’s health and history plays a major role in developing an effective individualized treatment plan. During detox, the psychiatrist will be able to prescribe the appropriate medications to help a patient go through withdrawals with as little pain and discomfort as possible. At the same time, the psychiatrist, therapist, and other members of the rehab treatment team work together to find a course of action that is most likely to lead to success in recovery.
Since each member of a treatment team has their own specialty, each contributes equally in getting patients on the path to recovery. Psychiatrists, using the information provided by the therapists, will prescribe or make adjustments to medications, and review and adjust the previous diagnosis. Meanwhile, the therapist, having the benefit of the psychiatrist’s diagnosis and medical assistance, can cater to the individual’s needs in therapy.
Psychiatrist vs. Therapist at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
The road to recovery is long, but with the help of a qualified treatment team, such as we have at BoardPrep Recovery Center® in Tampa, FL, you can regain control of your life. If you or a loved one are ready for a healthier life in sobriety, contact us today at 866.796.4720.