Psychologist and psychiatrist - who is who?

The psychologist has studied psychology at university. A psychologist understands emotions, their regulation, thought patterns and behavior. Applied psychologists (counselors, therapists) usually have at least a master's degree and have also completed several years of training in psychotherapy. However, it is not provided by law in Estonia that a psychologist must necessarily have scientifically recognized training; as a result, professional certificates are issued to psychologists in Estonia. A qualified psychologist is at least a specialist with a master's degree who has completed a professional year under supervision and is constantly improving his or her profession in order to maintain the profession.

In Estonia, invitations are issued to psychologists in four areas of specialization:

  1. School psychologist works in schools and is responsible for supporting student development and advancement. She can help and advise on learning, relationships, behavior, or emotions. The school psychologist also works with parents and teachers if necessary.
  2. Clinical psychologist tests and assesses special needs and risk behaviors, carries out prevention work and treats patients with mental and behavioral disorders and psychological problems. The focus of the clinical psychologist is often on traumatic events in the past, which are then treated with psychotherapy.
  3. Psychologist-counselor the work includes supporting a person's psychological well-being and self-fulfillment, and preventing the onset and aggravation of problems. The psychologist-counselor deals with clients from all target groups and focuses on social, emotional, developmental, personal, professional, educational and health-related topics. Unlike a clinical psychologist, a psychologist-counselor deals more with problems related to everyday life and less with erroneous thought patterns of the past.
  4. Sports psychologist the realm is individuals, teams and organizations involved in sport. The task of a sports psychologist is to fulfill the goals and potential related to sports and physical activities, to improve the quality of life by engaging in sports, and to support and prevent mental health problems in the context of sports.

                                        No psychologist can prescribe medication or make diagnoses!

    is a specialist with a medical education who, in addition to general medical training, has also completed training in psychiatry. She specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental and behavioral disorders. As a doctor, a psychiatrist also has the right to prescribe medication. A psychiatrist deals with similar fields as a clinical psychologist.

When do I need a cover letter?

When going to a private reception, you can go to both a psychiatrist and a psychologist without a referral letter. In the case of hospital appointments, it may be necessary to refer a family doctor, psychiatrist, neurologist or rehabilitation doctor, ie a referral letter, to access a clinical psychologist. 

It is important to remember that if the first specialist does not have the right valve, you should talk about it and, if possible and necessary, turn to the second specialist! 🙂