Should You See a Mental Health Therapist or a Psychiatrist?

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Are you trying to figure out whether to seek the assistance of a mental health therapist or a psychiatrist? It’s helpful to understand the difference between the two types of provider. A therapist generally sees patients individually or in small groups on a frequent basis. The therapist’s role is to observe, listen, counsel, and help patients create and implement a treatment plan to help them gain better mental health. Many patients who require non-acute care do well under the care of a therapist. For those who don’t have insurance, seeing a therapist can be less expensive per session than seeing a psychiatrist.

However, in some cases patients can benefit from seeing a psychiatrist instead of or in addition to a therapist. A psychiatrist has both extensive mental health training and a degree in medicine. They are able to provide all the services a therapist can as well as medical treatment including the interpretation of imaging and blood work tests and the prescription of medications. Patients who need more advanced, immediate or specialized intervention are best served by seeing a psychiatrist. If you still aren’t sure who to see for your care, scheduling an initial consultation can be a good start.