Differences among three groups of mental health professionals: Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, and Social Workers.

Essay by spitfire99 June 2004

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The differences between a Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, and a Social Worker are as follows: A Psychiatrist is concerned with the study and treatment of mental disorders, Clinical Psychologists are concerned with the application of psychological science for the assessment and treatment of mental disorders, and Social Workers are concerned with helping people reach an effective level of psychosocial functioning.

The psychiatrist will typically attend medical school for 4 years, and then go on to specialize in abnormal behaviors for another 4 years. They are licensed to practice medicine and may prescribe medicine.

The Clinical Psychologist will typically complete 5 years of graduate study in a Psychology department, as well as a 1-year internship before moving on to get their doctoral degree. There are 2 courses of study for Psychologists. The first leads to a PhD and involves graduate training with a major emphasis on research methods. The second leads into a Psy.

D and puts greater emphasis on practical skills, such as assessing and treating.

The Social Workers' work is based less on scientific knowledge and more on action. They place emphasis on social and cultural factors rather than individual differences in psychopathology. Their practice involves a wide range of settings from schools to social agencies.

In summary, a Psychiatrist focuses on the study and treatment of mental disorders, a Psychologist focuses on research and/or assessing and treating, and a Social Worker will get involved with society, rather than focusing on individual differences.