Psychiatrist or psychologist?

Posted , 5 users are following.

Anyone have any advice on this matter please 

I would love a diagnosis as many times I have suspected a few problems. But sometimes that just makes me more worried. 

I would love to have someone tell me exactly what all my issues are/how severe they are as the first step. Then I can start to work on them. 

That's why I thought maybe a psychiatrist

Can a psychologist give a diagnosis I have never been given one. I went to a doctor before with a panic attack worrried that it was my heart. They just did blood tests and told me I was fine. I wish they had told me I had a problem with anxiety and tried to help me with it. 

I just don't want to go to someone who is scared to tell me the truth. Because the unknown to me is scarier. I need to know so I can work on it, with support and start the slow but worthwhile process of moving on.

Also, has anyone experience on talking about romantic relationships with someone. I have never gone too in depth with it with my therapist but I think it's something I would like to work on. I just get quite uncomfortable talking about it. I would like to see a female anyways but just if anyone has any tips

Perhaps, does anyone just write stuff down and let the therapist read it I found that easier at the start when I first started therapy.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi - me again! -  you could do worse than start by reading these books, many of which include self-analysis/audit tools to clarify your thoughts before asking your GP for professional help (they could help you unravel whether you need a psychiatry assessment for diagnosis, or psychological help eg therapy):

    Oliver James - 'They F@#k you Up'  and 'Affluenza'

    Dr T. Cantopher - 'Depression;Curse of the Strong'

    Dr S. Briers - 'Psychobabble: Exploding the Myths of the Self-Help generation'

    All three have helped me tremendously and I have to thank others on this site for the 2nd two recommendations - the books by Oliver James definitely saved my life - without them I would not have persevered to get a proper diagnosis because 'TFYU' really cut thru all my confusion and clarified exactly my issues. 

    Hope this is helpful - if in doubt id say ask your GP for a CMHT referral and let the psychiatrist assess you and decide what help you need (they can prescribe CBT, occupational therapy, art therapy, exercise, sleep hygiene as well as medication).

    All the best - Im sure you'll get lots of other helpful advice from others who have been exactly where you are now, at a treatment crossroads! x

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  • Posted

    Me again! Just a quick pass on this revealed the hotlink fails. So did you deliberately or acidentally include hotlinks?
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    • Posted

      Just one of those odd bugs, inexplicable, but what I was seeing suggested something important was missing. Nevermind. So now to your OP

      Across the pond our US cousins seem to think that therapy must be a part of life. I find this rather sad. What is so much better is to have one or two very, very good friends to whom you feel you can tell anything and discuss those things you just could not with anyone else, even family members. And when we think about growing up so much of who we are and how we mature comes from all the interactions we had with others, young and older, as much as our genes. As kids we had few hangups; we were open to every experience; we felt no initial restraints but these grew on us with every passing day (almost).

      Your need for diagnosis, for some form of certainty suggests to me that you have yet to feel comfortable in your own skin. You are looking for something that is not there and may never be there no matter how much therapy you may endure. Both psychiatrists and psychologists look for abnormalities; obviously they are not in the business of looking for the normal. Had I to choose which route to take then my experiences suggest psychology to be better because those who practice it well look at the whole person, not just a malaise.

      Both branches of medicine can provide valid diagnoses; there is no reason I know of where any one of them would withhold information from you nor tell you the truth however bad that might be. One major difference I have come across can be that psychiatrists tend to prolong the association - seemingly no end to the consultations which may carry on for as long as one is happy to endure (or pay for) them. Psychologists appear more ready to tell you that is that and the rest may be up to you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jaguar, 

      Thanks for this. I know you tend to believe that the resources come from within the person rather than through meds/therapy. I want to get there and I know I will but I need to go through some stuff with a separate third party. Some of my friends are going through their own issues and also, I find it's good to have someone separate from any of the people you're talking about. . .that way the person you're talking to is completely non-biased. I have started being much more honest with my friends and I am trying to get the balance right between saying nothing or saying too much.

      Thanks for your advice, I have not yet made up my mind. But perhaps I will go the psychologist route as you suggest. 



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  • Posted

    Hello AG, it is a necessity to diagnose an issue before treating it, at least it is in western medicine. All docs and clinical psychologists are trained that way. Now they may not have told you their diagnosis, but this is not a proper practise. You can always ask and perhaps have them write down what they think is wrong and how they plan to treat it. This usually prompts the practitioner to think a bit harder ... In the UK it does appear that anyone can call themselves a councillor and so this means the standard of care provided can be variable. You can go to jail for working on a gas boiler without qualifications, but it's ok for your brain ... Go figure ! 

    The psychiatrist I found uses psychologist practitioners for the CBT type of stuff, recognising that for most of us you can get a better result from a combined drug and behavioural therapy. I had a really good experience with NHS Talking Therapies person - an hour a week for 12 weeks. Lots of opportunity to deep dive in a supportive and confidential environment. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks David. I am on citalopram already and I am happy with how it is going but I do feel (and my doc agrees, in fact he predicted it!) that the therapy helps me more than the meds. 

      Would you know by any chance is a psychologist required to give a diagnosis? 

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    • Posted

      Hi - yes they must reach a diagnosis, otherwise they can't formulate how to treat you. Towards the end of first session, if it hasn't come up, I would ask 'so what do you think is wrong ? And how should I treat it ? ' . There is no proper ethical reason not to share diagnosis with patients. No ifs , no buts. Practitioners please take note. 
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    • Posted

      Thanks David. Sometimes I feel like me thinking I have a bit of this and  a bit of that makes me feel worse when I may actually be behaving normally/just according to my own character, e.g. wanting to be organised. I need to know what's normal and what's not if you get me so that my anxiety doesn't increase when I am only behaving normally because I am afraiding I'm slipping into "abnormal" behaviour! And if I have several different issues, that's fine, I'm prepared to go through them one at a time!


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  • Posted

    Hi , if you read some of my posts you"ll see I am finally seeing a psychiatrist tomorrow having endured years of knowing I'm a square peg in a round hole !!! Anyway because it takes such a vast amount of energy to explain to a multitude of people the complex issues you experience I started writing a journal and if I have to see a new healthcare professional I hand over the book !!! If they look at the amount of pages in horror I just say it's all in there and I deserve your professional input !!! I have been asked to bullet point things of utmost importance !!!! My reply to that when I was my lowest ebb was unprintable !!! Seriously the more prepared you are to be frank / honest with what is going on in yr life the better able assessment of who you need to see should apply . Best of luck 
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