Psychiatrists vs. Psychologists

Patients in the Clemmons, NC Area May Wonder: What’s the Difference between a Psychiatrist and Psychologist?

If you are seeking mental health care, psychologists and psychiatrists are both professionals who can provide treatment. The distinctions can be understandably confusing since they are both often referred to as “doctor.” However, there are some important differences between these two professions as outlined below.


Psychologists, sometimes also called therapists, focus on psychotherapy. In North Carolina, a licensed psychologist must hold a PhD degree, thus the “doctor” title. However, a psychologist is not a medical doctor or physician. Notably, psychologists:

  • Usually cannot prescribe or manage medications.
  • Offer counseling and other non-pharmaceutical treatment for mental health issues.
  • May work alone or in conjunction with a psychiatrist as part of a patient’s treatment team.


Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are medical doctors. They are specialist physicians who have graduated from medical school and completed years of additional training during a psychiatric residency. Board-certified psychiatrists must also pass their board exams, an intense process that tests in-depth knowledge of psychiatry, neurochemistry, neurobiology, and many other subjects. Both Dr. Jessica Derreberry and Dr. Todd Derreberry are board-certified psychiatrists.

  • Psychiatrists are licensed by their state’s medical board and may prescribe and manage medications.
  • A psychiatrist may provide counseling, behavioral therapy, and other forms of mental health treatment.
  • Psychiatrists may work with other psychiatrist partners, hand-in-hand with psychologists, or in a solo practice.

For further information, please contact Envision Behavioral Health PLLC at (336) 223-8220.