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Psychologist versus Psychiatrist: What is the difference?

If you are in the process of seeking therapy, knowing the differences between mental health care titles can be imperative to your success.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are different types of professionals trained to help you deal with mental health issues. There are similarities, but there are important differences, too.

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Psychiatrist writing down every complaint of male patient

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. They focus on chemical imbalances in the brain and are trained to differentiate mental health problems from other underlying medical conditions that could be present with psychiatric symptoms. They can prescribe the necessary treatment and it can be in the form of therapy, medications and even simple lifestyle changes.

In Singapore, a psychiatrist is more likely to prescribe medication rather than engage in talk therapy.

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Close-up shot of female hands of psychologist making necessary notes in medical card with pencil during therapy session

A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behaviour. A psychologist diagnoses and treats mental disorders, learning disabilities, and behavioural problems. They may provide treatment for chronic conditions, and they can do so in an individual, family, or group setting. The most common type of treatment used by psychologists is psychotherapy, or talk therapy.

In Singapore, a psychologist does not prescribe medication.

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Hands of couple reaching for each other

Call these 24-hour helplines if you need support:

  • National Care Hotline 1800‑202‑6868

  • SOS (Samaritans of Singapore) 1800-221-4444

  • SAF Hotline (For SAF Personnel) 1800 278 0022

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Where private practice meets
co-working.
A Space Between provides flexible co-working office spaces for rent to therapists and other professionals in Singapore.
A Space Between is a destination for mental health therapy activities. Counsellors utilise our many conducive therapy rooms for consultations. Located conveniently downtown and offering your independent therapists rent by the hour, we house many professional mental health practitioners, including LGBTQ+ friendly ones. To find out more about the therapists practising in A Space Between, write to us at [email protected].
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