Psychiatrists are medical doctors.
They go to medical school and learn how to treat disorders from a medical perspective, meaning that they are trained in prescribing medications for people’s problems. Psychologists go to graduate school and learn how to treat disorders using different types of talk and behavioral therapies.
Although some psychiatrists also do talk and behavioral therapy, and some psychologists are trained in evaluating medicinal effectiveness, most stick to their primary area of training. Both psychologists and psychiatrists are referred to as doctors.
Psychiatrists, with their MD (doctor of medicine) or DO (doctor of osteopathy) degrees, are medical doctors, whereas psychologists, with PhD’s (doctorate of philosophy), have doctorates in the philosophy of clinical psychology. There is also a new form of doctorate in psychology, called a PsyD, which is a psychology doctorate.
The difference between a PhD and a PsyD is, in general, the focus of the training. The PsyD training has a focus on doing therapy, whereas the PhD training focuses both on doing therapy and on research.
The goal of both psychologists and psychiatrists is to help people who have mental disorders. Often, psychologists and psychiatrists work together on cases, with each handling his or her respective area of expertise, therapy or medication.