Clinical Psychology versus Psychiatry

How do we compare to other professions, what roles do we take, etc. Includes descriptions of "a week in the life" of relevant posts.
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miriam
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Clinical Psychology versus Psychiatry

Post by miriam » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:16 am

I'm told that psycholgists and psychiatrists do the same job, but that psychiatrists are paid twice as much, is this true?

Firstly, I think the key thing to work out is what you enjoy. Do you want to learn the breadth of physical health before specialising in mental health (as the route to psychiatry will take 8 years of this) or do you want to learn the breath of mental health and behaviour (as a psychology degree will be much broader than clinical psychology). No-one sane would do five years or more of something they are not really interested in, and you would be much less likely to succeed in it if you are not really interested. I would have hated many aspects of medical training, whereas I have always loved psychology, every step of the way. And to me enjoying what I do each day is much more important than the level of competition, or the salary at different stages, or anything else for that matter.

Secondly, the money figures you have been given are not comparing like for like. The big figures that medics get paid include being on-call, working out of hours and having responsibilities I personally would not want! If you just measure on basic salary then year for year the salaries are much more similar (SHO= trainee, SpR=Newly qual, New Consultant=4-6year qualified psychologist) its just that they can add half again with extras for being on call, working out of hours, and having extra responsibilities. And yes, if money is the be-all-and-end-all you can earn £100K+ as a Consultant Psychiatrist at the end of your career - if you are working 11 sessions per week, on call out of hours, have responsibilities and reputation beyond the norm. But for me, I'm just happy enough that I don't have to do any of that, and my pay scale moves from £27K (newly qual) to about £80K for Consultant CPs who run large departments.

But why not talk to some of the Clinical Psychologists and Consultant Psychiatrists who work in your area to find out more?

Oh, and for completeness if you haven't guessed, I've never for one moment wished to prescribe or for powers to section people. As far as I am concerned the medics are welcome to em! Our psychiatrists end up faffing with prescriptions, wards, admissions, etc and have much less variety and opportunity for actual therapy. I really don't envy them at all.

BTW, I could easily have done medicine, so I did face the dilemma you currently have, but I asked myself the first question i put to you, and was 100% certain that I wanted to talk to people about what was going on inside them, not cut them open and find out! I loved the whole process of my training, and know that would not have been true of medicine. You have to go where your heart is, not where you think the money is, otherwise you won't be happy.

I work in a child service, and our consultants do a lot of medication, beds, and stuff I wouldn't want to do, and don't seem to have that much time for therapy. After all, to play devils advocate, why pay a consultant's salary for CBT or family work when you can get a specialist therapist from another background to do it for half the price or less!!

And, on the cash debate, honestly I compared my newly qualified salary to an SpR collegaue and the basic salary was very similar, it was just the on-call and extras that meant she was earning more.

I do think we can learn from the professional systems for psychiatrists how we need to promote ourselves to the government and commissioners though. There are much stronger lobbies stating how essential it is to have psychiatrists, and how many there should be per head of population, and what facilities they require. There is also an expectation that a consultant psychiatrist is inherently an expert, a manager, and autonomous of outside control that I don't think that psychologists always get. Lets hope that the BPS can begin to promote what is unique and essential about what we do, so that we can have the government's ear and the status that they have.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Clinical Psychology versus Psychiatry

Post by miriam » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:14 am

Maybe time to revisit this, as I do think medics are more protected from down-banding and have better professional regulation and representation than we do. Has anyone got any other comments to incorporate in a 2013 version of this wiki?
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Re: Clinical Psychology versus Psychiatry

Post by Gilly » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:12 pm

there was the post that BoCo put up with links to show that medics were being downsized in terms of numbers as well? it was in norfolk and suffolk foundation trust if that helps..

I know that the RC Psych was concerned about the number of people applying for psychiatry, and im sure released some
documentation about it - wonder if as a result they've changed anything/proposed changes to make it more appealing?
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