There are a few distinct differences between a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist. Although their professions are in the same field, they have different qualifications and educational experiences. These differences are what pull one apart from the other. A psychiatrist has a BA degree and goes on to get an MD degree. After becoming a medical doctor and being licensed, the doctor takes classes in the specialized area of psychology. This takes a couple of years to complete.
After this, they can open a practice and prescribe medication if necessary. Really what a psychiatrist treats, are mental diseases and abnormalities. Even though a psychiatrist has many years of education under his belt, his expertise in the area of psychology can be less than that of a clinical psychologist. A clinical psychologist also attends college and gets a BA degree. They go on to get a phD in psychology. There are even clinical psychologists that have masters degrees.
They can have much more education in the area of mental health, but because of their lack of medical training, cannot prescribe medication. What psychologists treat are mental disorders. They use a lot of therapy and psychological treatments as opposed to medications. A lot of the time, a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist will work together to treat a patient.
In a mental disorder such as depression, the psychiatrist can prescribe antidepressant medication while the clinical psychologist cannot. But the extensive knowledge and experience the psychologist has in mental health can be very beneficial to the patients recovery. In depression cases, the medications stabilize the chemicals of the brain. Only a medical doctor can prescribe them.
Psychological testing such as personality tests, or stress tests help tell the psychologist how to deal with the patient's depression. What I mean by that is reducing stress levels, opening communication, etc. Those are the differences between a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist. They may sound the same but they are not.
It is very important to check out the credentials and area of expertise in any mental health professional that you are seeking treatment from. That is the only way to be sure of a healthy recovery. If you are studying whether or not the new headache medicine will be more effective than plain aspirin, you will have to do an experiment. You will give half of the subjects the new headache medicine, and the other half aspirin. The subjects should have headaches when you give the medicine to them.
After an elapsed period of time, you will interview the subjects to see which people feel better and how long it took to feel the result. After adding up the numbers, you will have your result. Your independent variable will be the aspirin and the new headache medication. You are the one who controls this.
Your goal is to see if the two different medications have different effects. The dependent variable will be the effect the aspirin or headache medicine had on the headache. This could be measured in many ways such as the time it took to take effect and the length of time the medication lasted. To do a double blind study, a group of subjects would get the new headache medicine and some would get aspirin. You, the evaluator, would not know which subjects were getting what. After a certain amount of time, you would record the results and chart your data.
After that, you will be informed which subjects had the actual headache medicine, and which had aspirin. This way, you can eliminate possible bias by the evaluator.