This is the most common question that Singaporeans ask when it comes to seeking help.
Who is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist in Singapore is a doctor with at least 6 more years of specialised training in mental health care. A psychiatrist treats mental health patients with medications.
Psychiatrists tend to see the more “serious” conditions, especially patients who require admission to a hospital and multiple medications.
They often take up the role of team leaders when mental health professionals come together and play a crucial role in deciding the treatment plan of a patient.
If you fail initial treatment by the Zenith team, you will be referred to a psychiatrist.
Who is a Mental Health GP?
A mental health GP had undergone further training in treating mental health conditions. Generally a GP can treat common conditions of anxiety and depression. When a case is complex and need multiple medications, the GP will refer patient to see a psychiatrist.
A GP is a good first touch point. The GP will assess the severity of your condition and will be able to advise you if you need medication, therapy or need further referral to a psychiatrist.
When should I see a psychiatrist or a Mental Health GP?
The fact that you are considering already means that you are very likely to benefit from a consultation. Whether you just want to clarify some doubts or you are suffering from intense mental pain, they would be able to help direct you to the most appropriate treatment pathway.
Early intervention is a key for a better outcome. Research has consistently shown that the best treatment outcomes come from teams who have close collaboration¹ between the psychologist, psychiatrist, family physician and social workers; and the best treatment rates² come from patients who have been started on both therapy and medication.
Can I see a psychologist although I’ve seen a psychiatrist?
Yes, you can. Anyone, with or without a serious mental illness, can benefit from seeing a psychologist. As mentioned above, there is a higher recovery rate, and faster and better recovery with a combined treatment of medication and psychotherapy². You would also learn new skills that could make you live your life in a more vital and meaningful way.
Who is a psychologist?
In Singapore, there are a few different types of psychologists. Among others, clinical psychologists, neuro-psychologists, and educational psychologists are the most common practitioners and they practice in mental health care settings. While neuro-psychologists and educational psychologists mostly deal with cognitive assessments, clinical psychologists specialise in the treatment of mental illnesses.
What is a clinical psychologist?
A clinical psychologist undergoes extensive training in hospitals to treat mental health patients. They typically hold a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a post-graduate or Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and complete a clinical internship supervised by at least three senior psychologists.
However, passing the degrees and exams is not enough. Clinical psychologists must complete a requisite number of direct supervision hours under senior clinical psychologists to become fully registered.
While they are highly trained mental health professionals, they do not have the authority to prescribe drugs, unlike doctors.
Therapeutic techniques and models are based on strong scientific evidence, and psychologists discuss with their patients the methods and therapeutic models used in therapy. Clinical psychologists adhere to a strict ethical code delineated by the American Psychological Association.
Who is a counsellor?
Counsellors are a diverse group of therapists who have diverse training. They remain the most accessible and play a key role in seeing clients with less severe disorders. They can be found in many organisations, offices, schools and religious organisations.
There are experienced counsellors that specialise in family and couple therapy. You might have to see one if there are complex family issues.
1. Petersen L, Jeppesen P, Thorup A, et al. A randomised multicentre trial of integrated versus standard treatment for patients with a first episode of psychotic illness. BMJ 2005;331(7517):602.
2. Pampallona S, Bollini P, Tibaldi G, Kupelnick B, Munizza C. Combined Pharmacotherapy and Psychological Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2004;61(7):714–9.
3. Clinical psychology – Wikipedia [Internet]. [cited 2016 Dec 11];Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_psychology