Psychology — The Understanding of Individuals is Still Very Much, "A Work In Progress"

Not that I need one. But what's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? I was always under the impression they were one in the same. You'll never find two psychologists that will use the same definition of their disciplines. 

Psychology and psychiatry are often confused using one term for the other.  Psychiatry comes from the Greek for Soul Healing, while psychology, also Greek for psyche, is the study of the soul. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding and the treatment of psychiatric disorders.  Psychologists also treat psychiatric disorders but use a more broader discipline, psychology is defined as the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals.

Psychology is a science, using scientific methods to observe behaviour and to back up claims using sophisticated techniques and equipment. Behaviours that can only be inferred, like thinking, feeling, being motivated, which must be backed up with observable evidence. Those psychologists that do basic research are "Experimental Psychologists." The ones that apply that knowledge are "Clinical Psychologists."  They assess, diagnose and treat mental and behaviour disorders by applying psychotherapy in a medical type of setting.

There are:

  • Counseling Psychologists: who work with less severe disturbances such as, marital difficulties, etc.

  • Cognitive Psychologists: who are interested in the mental process of thinking, learning, memory, etc.

  • Developmental Psychologists: that study how people grow and change from conception to death, focusing on specific ages, intelligence and language development and personality.

  • Personality Psychologists: who want to know what shapes a personality.

  • School Psychologists: that work in school settings, with children.

  • Social Psychologists: that study social influences, interactions, and perceptions.

  • Forensic Psychologists: who work for the judicial and criminal systems. (Child abuse, custody disputes, etc.)

  • Industrial Psychologists: who are used to improve work conditions making it safer and improve design.

  • Comparative Psychologists: study animal behaviour.

  • Biopsychologists: also known as neuroscientists are the newest kids on the block, who study relationships with the brain and mind and behaviour, using high tech tools such as MRI and PET scans. 

Much of psychology and psychiatry overlap each other. Psychologists over the last few decades have increasingly focused their attention on understanding individuals as a "Whole Person" but putting it all together is still, "A Work In Progress"

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