A PhD in mental health counseling is necessary to work as a psychiatrist. Someone with a doctorate in mental health counseling may be permitted to practice as a professional psychiatrist if they hold other Doctor of Medicine credentials. This occupation involves offering services to improve a patient’s emotional well being and to treat psychiatric illnesses. Holders of PhD (doctorate) degrees can also work as clinical social workers or clinical psychologists. Although their scope of practice may vary slightly, all deal with the same disorders, illnesses, issues, and conditions. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat emotional problems suffered by individuals, families, and couples. They have to counsel patients with a view to improving personal relationships as well as treating psychological disorders. Therefore, the scope of their practices often overlaps.
Mental Health Counseling Training and Education
To qualify, an aspirant psychiatrist first has to pursue a Bachelors degree which is followed by four years at medical school. After this, to obtain a PhD in mental health counseling, the graduate has to attend an internship program for a year. Thereafter, three years must be spent at a hospital while training as a psychiatrist. When this has been successfully completed, a trainee psychiatrist must take a state licensing board examination in order to receive a license to practice. The exam is a stringent test on psychiatric sub-specialties, the clinical science of psychiatry, and the biological sciences. It contains written and oral components.
Careers in Mental Health Counseling
During the course of their work, psychiatrists also use diagnostic and laboratory testing to shed light on the physical and mental state of patients. Apart from psychotherapy and medication, shock treatment is frequently used. Treatment modules are different for each individual patient. The most common disorders are psychosis, substance abuse, depression, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, and developmental disabilities.
Patients are referred to a psychiatrist by other health care practitioners. A mental health professional (MHP) often liaises with the patient’s medical doctor to plan a treatment program. The MHP’s role is to provide psychotherapy and psychiatric medication. The significant difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that psychiatrists are permitted to prescribe drugs. Psychologists are only allowed to provide verbal therapy.
Let’s focus more closely on the career of a psychiatrist. Their work is often stressful as they treat patients who are very emotionally unstable. Some patients have psychological disorders that result in dangerous behaviors which can harm themselves as well as those around them.
Psychiatrists work in private practices or mental health institutions. It can take a while to build a successful private practice so most new graduates begin their careers by working for an established practice. Those with PhDs who do not wish to treat patients can take on lecturing jobs at universities and colleges, or become deans of psychiatric faculties. Alternatively, they can become administrators or researchers.
The working environment of a practicing psychiatrist with a PhD in mental health counseling should be peaceful and quiet so that patients feel comfortable and at ease. Those who are self-employed often have irregular working hours because of emergency situations.
Programs in Mental Health Counseling
The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, accredited institution with more than 4,285 students at campuses across the country (Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) and online. TCSPP has been an innovator in the field of psychology and related behavioral science for more than 30 years. TCSPP offers more than 20 degree programs and a wealth of opportunities for international experiences.
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Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952 to build on the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, the University offers master’s and doctoral degree programs for social change. Students enroll and complete degree programs at our urban campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver.
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