Any time I look this up, I only seem to find the differences between the two. I'm aware of the difference enough to know that one is generally someone you consult with to work out problems, while the other actually deals with the medical side of things.

What I want to know - and cannot find out - is why I cannot find one that specializes in both. I've always been under the impression that being well versed in both would allow one to better coordinate treatment with a patient. Would this not be the case?

As someone that is dealing with issues that could be useful to both talk through and take medicine for (and as someone that likes to have control over multiple facets of a challenge to better tackle it), there's an appeal to me to find someone that can do both - someone that, in theory, could both work with me to tackle my personal issues in the most efficient way, through a combination of medication and talking.

One reason I thought of - but haven't been able to confirm - is that each discipline requires substantial time to learn and be certified in, to the point that it wouldn't be feasible to practice both - either due to the amount of money required for schooling, or some other factor that I wouldn't be aware of.

Optionally, I'm wondering if they do exist, however I'm just unable to find any through my insurance (or any other service I use to find doctors) - but even when looking through google, I can only seem to find professionals that perform one or the other, as opposed to doing both.

Do they exist? Are they considered "unicorns" (and thus would just be rare finds, period, as say, a UX Engineer that specializes in multiple facets of the discipline) or is there some other reason that I'm not aware of?

Part of me feels there is a straightforward answer that I just can't seem to find - or perhaps I'm asking the wrong question. Part of me feels this is more of a subjective answer that'll result in an instantly-deleted question. I'm hoping the latter isn't the case, but I'm at a loss of where else to ask.


1 Answer 1


Largely because in most (if not all) jurisdictions:

psychiatrist = medical doctor + psychologist

So psychiatrists believe that they are, in fact, "someone you consult with to work out problems" and "deals with the medical side of things."

However, in practice, having many years of medical training, and generally seeing clients for whom non-medicated (or GP pharmaceutical prescribed) solutions haven't had the desired effect; they tend to focus quite strongly on the "medical side of things."

Doctors in general often believe that the statistical evidence favours drugs over discussion.

All this said, psychiatrists who specialise in talking therapies ("psychotherapy") do exist.

I understand the original poster is resident in the United States. The American Psychiatric Association does not have a specialist college for them, nor does its "Find a Psychiatrist" service provide a method to find them. However, their web page https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/psychotherapy does provide links to notable psychotherapy organisations that their members may be members of. Of these, only one makes it easy to find members that are also psychiatrists - https://www.aapdp.org/new-membership/roster-of-members/. All it's members are so.

In Australia, http://www.ranzcp.org/membership/faculties-sections-and-networks/psychotherapy is the singular peak body for psychiatrists who are particularly interested in psychotherapy.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting insight. I spoke with my psychiatrist for a pre-appointment phone call & asked this question to him. His reply was a bit of what you say here, and some of what I hypothesized, though there are people that specialize in both sides of the coin - it's just not as often, nor are they always in network (for medical coverage)! Having had some experience with a psychiatrist and psychologist I can certainly understand why some favor drugs over discussion, but at the end of the day, it's like having tools without knowing what to create or how - sometimes you need both. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AnthonyLoPrimo I think there is also certainly a cost aspect to it; an MD gets a lot of expensive training in a lot of things that are not therapy, and therapy is very time-intensive. Just like MDs are replaced with nurse practitioners, PAs, nurses, and technicians in other areas of medicine, in psychology they are replaced by trained therapists. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 21:51

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