Psychiatrists & Psychologists: Assessment & Treatment Roles

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Definition, Theory & Pyramid

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Psychosocial Health
  • 0:27 The Role of the Psychologist
  • 2:42 The Role of the Psychiatrist
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Psychologists and psychiatrists do the best they can to help people overcome psychosocial health concerns. Learn more about how these mental health professionals assess and treat patients with emotional and psychological disorders in this lesson.

Psychosocial Health

Every now and then, we all experience emotional, mental, social, or spiritual conundrums. Some of these problems cause us to feel temporarily down, and others may be life-long health issues. Psychosocial health problems can be addressed by many types of mental health professionals. In this lesson, we'll explore the roles of two of them: psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Role of the Psychologist

A psychologist is a highly trained and educated professional who assesses and helps people with disruptive thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors. Psychologists typically hold advanced degrees, such as Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. If someone is angry, depressed, stressed, or anxious for any reason, they can talk to a psychologist. Psychologists go way beyond just being a sounding board because you hate your boss. They can help with disruptive emotions caused by a serious illness or assist with addiction or substance abuse.

Psychologists use many different assessments to figure out the full picture of your strengths, weaknesses, and what the problem is so that they can help determine how best to help you. These assessments include:

  • Personality tests, using something like a questionnaire.
  • Aptitude exams, such as those that check a child's ability to read.
  • A clinical interview, which is like a live test, where the psychologist speaks to you to determine how you reason and think based on the conversation. You may not even realize it's happening, but it is! This is why I don't have any friends who are psychologists - they're like magicians of the mind.
  • And, of course, they can do interviews with everyone from family members to co-workers, with the written consent from the patient of course, to get to the bottom of what's going on.

Once psychologists have assessed the situation and determined the problem, they employ strategies developed from years of research and evidence to help a patient get back on track. Some problems are addressed with psychotherapy, a.k.a. talk therapy. Actually, there's more than one form of this, and psychologists will custom tailor the strategy they use based on what they think is best for a unique situation. For example, they may decide group therapy is the best approach for your particular situation.

But there are times when talk therapy alone will not do the trick for a serious situation at hand. Therefore, therapy and medication are used together to help a person live a better life. It's not uncommon in these situations for a psychologist to work directly with the person's physician to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. Although there are psychologists who have the legal ability to prescribe medication, most do not.

The Role of the Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists, on the other hand, do have the ability to prescribe medication to treat psychosocial health issues. They are physicians who hold an M.D. or D.O. degree and specialize in treating mental health and emotional disorders. The reason psychiatrists are so important is because they are uniquely trained to understand the full scope of psychosocial problems and the relation to intricate physiological issues.

Okay, normal person speak time as I used too many crazy words there. What I'm trying to say is that while sometimes people have a psychological issue that's coming purely from the brain, that need not be the case. Many diseases that affect your tissues and organs, like the kidneys, adrenal glands, liver, heart, and so on, actually cause an imbalance of hormones or other chemicals in the body that then force you to think or feel negatively. So, your brain goes haywire because it's receiving all these weird messages from sick organ systems.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account