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A psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist or coach is united by the knowledge of the human psyche. Divides - how to treat it. Whether repairing the psyche will be effective depends largely on the choice of the person to whom we seek help. So let's get to know the differences between the mentioned specialists.

Psychological problems can take many forms and give different symptoms, and therefore often require the support of various specialists. How will a psychologist or psychotherapist help us, and what will a psychiatrist do? In what situation can we count on effective help from a coach?


A psychologist is a person who has graduated in psychology. The scope of the psychologist's duties is very wide and often goes beyond the area closely related to human mental he alth. A psychologist is the first person contacted by a person struggling with mental suffering or disorders of this origin. This specialist usually provides opinions, diagnosis, psychological examination and referring patients to appropriate treatment. The psychologist does not deal with therapy, he does not order pharmacological treatment, he can only diagnose and refer his patient to other specialists.

What methods does the psychologist use?

The psychologist diagnoses and evaluates the problem on the basis of an interview with the patient. The essence of the interview is not only the conversation, but often also special psychological tests, which are then properly interpreted by him. This specialist is also authorized to issue judgments or mental he alth certificates.

Who is helping?

Most often we visit a psychologist with current problems that hinder everyday functioning. These are the problems of everyday life - a difficult situation at work or in marriage, apathy, discouragement, loss. It is worth going to a psychologist when we are not sure which specialist will help us. The psychologist will diagnose the problem and refer you to appropriate treatment, e.g. to psychotherapy or to a psychiatrist.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry. He is en titled to diagnosis and pharmacological treatment of his patients. It is the only onespecialist in the field of psychology, authorized in Poland to issue prescriptions. He deals with the treatment of the most difficult and serious mental disorders.

What methods does the psychiatrist use?

The psychiatrist diagnoses the patient on the basis of an interview, which in some cases may also include medical or laboratory tests. At work, a psychiatrist uses pharmacological treatment, mainly with the support of psychotropic drugs. Your doctor may decide to treat you in a hospital and refer you there. There are exceptions when the patient is recommended compulsory treatment (most often when the patient poses a real threat to his he alth and life or that of others, and when the patient is unable to meet his or her basic life needs).

Who is helping?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who should see people with severe personality disorders and those who pose a threat to their own and their relatives' safety. This specialist deals with the most difficult cases of mental problems that psychotherapy cannot cope with. Disorders qualifying for a visit to a psychiatrist include, among others. mania, depression, schizophrenia, thoughts of suicide, autoimmunity.


A psychotherapist does not have to be a trained doctor or even a psychologist. To qualify for this profession, you must complete a four-year school in this area of ​​study. Psychotherapy deals with solving the problems of a suffering psyche. The psychotherapist treats disorders, investigates their sources and helps to deal with the past and past events, which in many cases are the cause of the problems.

What methods does the psychotherapist use?

Time is the most important thing in psychotherapy. It is impossible to achieve a cure in a short time, so it is a therapy for the patient and consistent. Psychotherapy can last up to several years. Short-term therapy is possible, but these usually do not solve every problem. Therapies are most often carried out in person. The psychotherapist focuses on direct, close contact with the patient - one on one. In addition, therapy must be favored by the surroundings - a quiet, cozy and comfortable room and an atmosphere that allows intimate confessions. The psychotherapist must gain the patient's trust, which will open up to them. The doctor is in therapy primarily by listening. Four methods are used in psychotherapy: cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, systemic and psychoanalytical. Each of them is characterized by a different approach to the problem and a different wayconducting therapy.

Who is helping?

The psychotherapist conducts therapies for people with problems that reduce their quality of life. Psychotherapy most often deals with such problems as: depression, anxiety states, eating disorders, compulsive thoughts, ACoA, sleep disorders, psychosomatic symptoms.


The difference between the coach and other specialists is very big. The most important fact is that the coach is not involved in therapy. It does not heal a sick soul, but it improves the he althy one. Mainly those who come to the coach are those who do not have mental problems, but are interested in using their psyche more effectively and want to improve the quality of life. A coach is able to give meaning to someone's life, motivate them to act, encourage them to face challenges and improve their well-being.

Coach will not be helpful in getting out of the mental depression, will not use therapy or pharmacological treatment. He will not analyze the past and look for the causes of the human condition. It won't make a diagnosis. The coach will improve what is already good. It will help overcome the barriers that stand in the way of the goal that we want to achieve. It will allow us to develop the potential that lies dormant in us. It will affect the effectiveness of activities.

What methods does the coach use?

Coaches deliver motivational speeches, organize lectures and trainings, but also meet during individual sessions. Their work is based on visualizing the bright future of the audience. For a coach, the here and now are the most important. High persuasive skills allow the coach to change the way of thinking of the person who listens to him. The influence of words is so strong that only as a result of persuasion a person can suddenly change his life, approach to certain matters.

Importantly, the coach never draws one path to success. In coaching, I also do not enter into the patient-doctor relationship. In terms of this "therapy", both sides have partnerships, and even the role of the coach is limited only to prompting and supporting. In the case of coaching, the method of communication also looks different, compared to the previously described specializations. Meetings can be held in larger groups or in an unusual form, e.g. via the Internet or telephone. Compared to psychological therapy that deals with mental and emotional problems, coaching is more positive. Analyzes success, not failure. It shows the potential inherent in a person, not his faults. An important difference is also that in coaching it is important to measure progress, in psychotherapy we will not find it.

Who will help?

Coaching is aimed at people who do not have psychological problems, but who feel the need to improve their attitude to life, work and family. Working with a coach is recommended for those who are looking for internal motivation or do not have the courage to strive for victory in life. Coaching is very good support for employees who are held accountable for their goals. It is also a great solution for those who lack self-confidence.

Working with a coach can complement psychotherapy. It is often recommended to people who have solved their problems and need additional reinforcement or development of the expected attitudes.

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