Both these professionals require many years of study to practice in their respective fields. Psychologists begin with an undergraduate degree in psychology, they then must attend a graduate program to earn a master’s degree followed by a doctorate degree in psychology recognised by the Psychology Society of Ireland, and so this may take up to ten years of study. Conversely, psychiatrists require a medical degree either before or after completing an undergraduate degree in psychology. While both psychologists and psychiatrists are referred to as doctors, psychologists earn a doctorate degree that is either a PhD or a PsyD, whilst psychiatrists are medical doctors. The main difference between these two professionals is primarily associated with the education requirements that need to be achieved in order to attain the necessary qualifications to become members of their respect professions governing body.
For Irish psychologists the governing body is the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), for Irish psychiatrists the governing body is the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland. This ensures they both must adhere to a code of conduct and ethical principles in regard to their treatment of patients and acts to protect both the patient and psychologist/psychiatrist. The relevant code of ethics for both professions is available at the respective governing body’s web sites at the links below (www.psihq.ie,www.irishpsychiatry.ie).
other important difference from a treatment perspective
is a psychologist cannot write prescriptions and as such
their therapeutic approach(s) do not involve
pharmacological treatments. They may however, refer a
client to be reviewed by a psychiatrist in order to
receive medications, if they feel it is in their best