Difference Between Psychology and Psychiatry

On many occasions, when referring to mental health, there is often confusion regarding the field of action or the care provided by a psychologist and that provided by a psychiatrist.

Both branches of science are oriented to mental health care but differ from each other in several aspects that we will see from their definitions.


Psychology is a discipline of the social sciences that deals with the study of the mental processes of people. The name comes from the Greek words -psycho- which means -mental activity- and -logy- which refers to -study of-. Therefore, the word psychology refers to the study of the mental activity of people.

The main objective of psychology is to try to understand the mental processes of the person based on their behavior and conduct and their relationship with the environment and with other people. Nowadays, psychology is divided into several branches, the physiological, experimental, social, clinical, industrial.

It should be noted that among the most relevant branches we have clinical psychology that studies and helps people who have problems leading their lives normally, due to mental illnesses or disorders, and also occupational psychology, which tries to understand what could be harmful within the labor sector in which it is developed, looking for measures to solve said problems.


The word psychiatry comes from the Greek words -psyche- which refers to -the mind and the soul- and -iatreia- which means -healing-. Therefore, the word psychiatry refers to the healing of the mind.

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of mental illnesses, as well as their causes and their prevention, whether of organic, functional or non-organic origin. Among them, we can mention mental disorders that originate from an inadequate social environment.

To this end, in psychiatry, biological treatments can be administered, which include the administration of medicines and even electric shocks to influence the biochemistry of the brain, and psychotherapeutic treatments, where techniques and therapies related to psychology are applied.

In attention to the previous definitions, it can be deduced that both sciences, psychology and psychiatry, are totally different areas of study, despite the fact that both have as a common factor the study of the human mind and its possible affections.

Therefore, the differences between psychology and psychiatry are indicated below :

Psychology Psychiatry
Psychology is a branch of the social sciences that focuses on studying people’s social and emotional situations. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that focuses on the study of the biological causes of mental pathologies.
First of all, to be a psychologist you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology. You can then specialize in clinical psychology, social psychology, school psychology, among others. To be a psychiatrist, you must first study medicine. Then a specialization in psychiatry is carried out.
Psychologists are not empowered to prescribe medication. However, they use therapeutic techniques for the treatment and follow-up of the person’s mental health problems. Psychiatrists are empowered, and therefore have a medical license, to prescribe medication for the treatment of mental illness.
The psychologist evaluates, detects and treats psychological problems mostly related to the person’s behavior in their social environment. The psychiatrist diagnoses the physiological origin of the patient’s mental illnesses, in order to apply a treatment for their possible rehabilitation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button