Understanding the Role of a Psychiatrist & Therapist

June 23, 2017
For many, life can feel overwhelming, stressful and exhausting. Relationships with friends, spouses, parents and children can change over time, adding to feelings of stress and anxiety.  Jobs, careers, education and even traumatic experiences can add to our frustration and fears.

Psychiatrists and therapists provide valuable support to patients. At, Hancock Counseling & Psychiatric Services, the highly-skilled psychiatrists and therapists help each patient grow by providing individual attention and personalized care plans.  Each plan is customized to understand and support each patient’s unique needs.

Both psychiatrists and therapists specialize in the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of mental health, emotional and behavioral disorders.  For some patients, therapists are an ideal support.  For others, psychiatrists provide more appropriate treatments. Often, however, patients work with both professionals to receive experienced and compassionate support.   Understanding the difference between a psychiatrist and therapist can help you navigate the best course of care for you and help you take your #FirstStepBack.

What is psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a physician who has completed rigorous training in medical school, including residency requirements and hundreds of hours of on-the-job training.  Psychiatrists receive a medical degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or Medical Doctor (MD).  Psychiatrists are also able to write prescriptions for medication.

Psychiatrists achieve board certification by going thru certification and maintenance of certification processed verified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

What is a therapist?

A therapist is a trained professional who has received undergraduate and graduate-level training.  Therapists receive supervised clinical training, including hundreds of hours of education and support.  Specializing in mediation, helping others understand and identify feelings, supporting decision making, and providing guidance for life decisions, therapists provide valuable support to clients.

Therapists often provide individual, group, couple or family therapy sessions for a variety of ages and needs.

Working together

Both therapists and psychiatrists work together to solve patient needs. Through electronic medical records, personal contact and other means, the professionals share information to best meet patient needs through a mutually developed treatment plan.

For information about Hancock Counseling & Psychiatric Services or to locate a Psychiatrist or Therapist near you, visit


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