What is a Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medically trained practitioner or doctor specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatry is a medical specialisation which a qualified doctor can choose to undertake after completing medical training. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, help manage an ongoing medication regime as well as recommend other forms of treatments, including counselling, psychological therapy and psychotherapy.
Most psychiatrists work as part of the NHS and privately although some only carry out private practice. A psychiatrist may complete specific psychological therapy trainings for example mindfulness, CBT and EMDR. These trainings foster a psychological approach to medical practice in mental health.
Alternatively, a minority of trained psychiatrists pursue a career as a medical psychotherapist if they decide to specialise in psychotherapy (psychological or talking treatments) rather than drug treatment. This can include different therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy and family therapy. In this case the psychiatrist will also be registered with the appropriate governing professional talking therapy body (see list of professionally recognised bodies in the UK below).
You can check the details of a psychiatrist, including their area of speciality, by looking on the General Medical Council (GMC) register, a directory available online of all practising doctors in the UK. The letters MRCPsych (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) or FRCPsych (Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) after denotes that the Psychiatrist is also a current member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych).
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