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Training In Psychiatry vs. Psychology And School Recommendations

Updated on June 2, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

An Astronaut's Idea Of Creativity and Imagination

Created with POV-Ray 3.6 and rendered on the International Space Station (April 25 - May 5, 2002) by astronaut Mark Shuttleworth.
Created with POV-Ray 3.6 and rendered on the International Space Station (April 25 - May 5, 2002) by astronaut Mark Shuttleworth. | Source

Differences In Training, Beliefs and Focus

The differing characteristics of psychiatrists and psychologists are often illustrated in the popular press by pointing to the differences in practice between psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis and psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was head of the American Psychological Association for a time.

The two professionals actually met in person during 1907 and influenced each other's theories to a degree. However, Carl Jung felt that Freud concentrated too much on sexual aspects of the psyche and the negatives of the subconscious/dreams, and treated all his students as patients. Therefore, Jung broke away from psychoanalysis and formed analytical psychology. Jung felt that the subconscious is largely positive in nature and can lead to great creativity.

Biographical Film

A Dangerous Method
A Dangerous Method
Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender star in the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as Jung begins to break away and for his own discipline within psychology, rather than psychiatry.

Today, psychiatry is a medical discipline concerned largely with physical causes of mental health problems and often with prescribing medications and other treatments limited to administration by physicians (MDs and DOs).

Psychology has many "departments' of study and a multitude of treatments to offer, but no medications. Psychologists to offer a number talking therapies, behavior medification (ala B.F. Skinner and others), hypnosis for a menu of issues, and other treatments. Still, no medications are offered. Occasional, a psychologist will refer a patient to a psychiatrist to obtain those. In large medical practices, a psychologist may be retained on staff with psychiatrists and other medical doctors.

A psychaitrist is a medical doctor; a psychologist who has earned a PhD or a PsyD will be called "Docctor" but is not a medical doctor. New patients sometimes see a psychologist and ask for medications, but are unable to obtain any prescriptions or drug samples there. A psychologist does not even have a prescription pad.

The excellent image above, created by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, may be an accurate rendering of Jung's beliefs about creativity and the subconscious being wonderful things.

Jung and Freud met for the first time in Vienna on March 3, 1907

Postcard from Carl Jung to Martha Freud, March 3, 1907. Sigmund Freud Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (005.00.00) [Digital ID # rb0005].
Postcard from Carl Jung to Martha Freud, March 3, 1907. Sigmund Freud Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (005.00.00) [Digital ID # rb0005]. | Source

Psychiatrists and Their Training

A psychiatrist is a physician - a medical doctor, either MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy).

A psychiatrist has earned a 4-year undergraduate degree in a "pre-med" focus of subjects, and then attended a medical school. The graduate will be required to obtain state licensing from the state medical board through examination. He or she has then served at least one internship and at least one or more residencies, including psychiatric specialties - for example, Pediatric Psychiatry, Gerontological Psychiatry, etc. .

Similar to all of the rest of the medical specialties, psychiatrists largely focus on physical etiologies or causes for illnesses. This includes mental health issues and conditions. They prescribe a wide variety of medications for treatment. In the past, even heroin, cocaine, and LSD have been prescribed in different parts of the world of psychiatry.

Psychiatric training is medical training that does not necessarily include psychotherapy. However, often it does include psychotherapy and talking therapies.

Psychiatrists are soemtimes required to complete a course of personal psychotherapy themselves, as psychologists are often required to do.

Psychiatric training in psychotherapy largely targets Freud's and others' psychoanalysis methods, but psychiatrists are more often taking psychology courses and seminars to add to their knowledge of alternative psychotherapies and treatments. Some psychiatrists earn degrees in psychology as well, and some even add a law degree when they enter forensics research and practice.

Psychiatrists often send their patients to psychologists for psychological testingl. Thus, psychologists may do more psychological testing than so psychiatrists and their office staffs. Different training programs may have differing additional goals to meet as well.

American Psychiatric Association

1000 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1825, Arlington VA 22209-3901


Example: Ohio Medical Schools With Departments Of Psychiatry

The following list names the best facilities and curricula for psychiatry in the State of Ohio.

Best Psychiatry Schools In Ohio

Cleveland Clinic:
Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

get directions

Case Western:
Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

get directions

Medical University of Ohio:
Medical College of Ohio, 1260 North Detroit Avenue, Toledo, OH 43607, USA

get directions

The Ohio State University:
The Ohio State University, 1739 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

get directions

Wright State University:
Wright State University, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, OH 45435, USA

get directions

University of Cincinnati:
University Of Cincinnati, 2600 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA

get directions

Disciplines Can Look Similar, Just As Can Objects

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Patterns of appearance and structure are often repeated in nature. This is a model of a human brain.This water drop on a leaf resembles a brain.A cabbage looks something like a human brain.
Patterns of appearance and structure are often repeated in nature. This is a model of a human brain.
Patterns of appearance and structure are often repeated in nature. This is a model of a human brain. | Source
This water drop on a leaf resembles a brain.
This water drop on a leaf resembles a brain. | Source
A cabbage looks something like a human brain.
A cabbage looks something like a human brain. | Source

Psychologists And Their Training

A psychologist starts out by earning a 4-year bachelor's degree or a 5-6 year combined bachelor and master's degree at an accredited college or university.

The graduate will go on to a Master's Degree followed by a Doctoral Degree or to a combined program of Master's and Doctoral work that ends in a doctoral degree called any of the following, depending on the professional school/university attended: PhD, PsyD, or EdD.

In Ohio, the Ed..D was eliminated from the allowable degrees in the late 1980s. I witnessed this change when the head of psychology at The Ohio State University decided to no longer sign off on the Education Department's EdDs as being equivalent to psychology PhDs. The Ohio Board of Psychology accepted this decision and agreed with it, making it a statewide mandate.

There are several areas in which to specialize and the student will choose a specialty and serve at least one internship-type period in their choice. For instance, I served internships in health psychology, clinical psychology, and vocational/industrial psychology. See the American Psychological Association's website for full descriptions of these areas, which are increasing in number.

After the Doctorate is achieved, post-doc work and study can be experienced while the student is studying for psychology board licensing. Some students serve more than one post-doc.

Many psychologists receive extensive training and experience in research, whereas some psychiatrists do not; however, I see more teams of psychiatrists with psychologists that also include social workers and other mental health professionals in important research. I also see teams of psychiatrists undertaking more pieces of research than in the past. This research includes addiction and substance abuse studies, and many others.

Psychology applies research findings to determine the efficacy of treatments However, the total world of medicine (including psychiatry) and natural sciences does not fully recognize psychology or its research as a legitimate science. There are grudges and feuds between the two disciplines in certain places in America.

Psychology students that wish to become licensed practitioners complete one or several clinical internships under the official supervision of a licensed psychologist. The State Board of Psychology receives supervision reports and logs of hours supervised as a matter of law.

Official Continuing Education Study Credit hours are often a yearly requirement and are offered as professional development by many organizations, such as hospitals or state boards around the USA. I personally knew a psychologist that earned a Master's Degree and was grandfathered into a PhD and license, but never took another course nor continuing education credit after the MA. Her practice suffered enormously for all this and she lost her license.

Many psychologists will have received training and experience in psychological testing, whereas all psychiatrists will not always have so done so.

Different psychology training programs may have additional goals to meet, depending on the school attended and in what state.

Psychological Organizations

  • American Psychological Association (APA) - The American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychologists in the United States. APA educates the public about psychology, behavioral science and mental health; promotes psychological scie
  • PsycCareers: APA's Online Career Center and Listing Of Departments An excellent resource for employers to find top-quality candidates and for job seekers to locate jobs in various psychology disciplines. Job seekers can find a job, post a resume, create a job agent, manage saved jobs and more. Employers can post job openings here.
  • Many US States maintain their own organizations and memberships.
  • Many international countries maintain their own psychological associations.

Example: Recommended Ohio Psychology Schools

  • Bowling Green State University - Department of Psychology - Bowling Green
  • Case Western Reserve University - Psychology Department - Cleveland
  • Cedarville University - Cedarville
  • Cleveland State University - Counselor Education Programs - Cleveland
  • Cleveland State University - Psychology Department - Cleveland
  • John Carroll University - Community Counseling Program - Cleveland
  • John Carroll University - Psychology Department - Cleveland
  • Kent State University - Psychology Department - Kent
  • Kent State University - School Psychology Program - Kent
  • Miami University - Department of Psychology - Oxford
  • Ohio State University - Department of Psychology - Columbus
  • Ohio University - Counselor Education - Athens
  • Ohio University - Department of Psychology - Athens
  • Union Institute & University - Cincinnati
  • University of Akron - Department of Counseling - Akron
  • University of Akron - Department of Psychology - Akron
  • University of Cincinnati - Counseling Program - Cincinnati
  • University of Cincinnati - Department of Psychology - Cincinnati
  • University of Dayton - Psychology Department - Dayton
  • University of Toledo - Counseling and Mental Health Services - Toledo
  • University of Toledo - Psychology Department - Toledo
  • Wright State University - Department of Human Services - Dayton
  • Wright State University - Psychology Department - Dayton
  • Xavier University - Department of Psychology - Cincinnati
  • Youngstown State University - Counseling Department - Youngstown
  • Youngstown State University - Psychology Department - Youngstown

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


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