Media & Mental Health Info

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist?




To become a psychiatrist in Malaysia, he/she must first complete a five to six years of medical training (Degree in  Medicine). Upon graduated as a medical doctor, it is compulsory for him/her to serve in the government hospital for  four years. It is then he/she is allowed to apply for specialist training in psychiatrist or psychological medicine (Master  in Psychiatrist or Master in Psychological Medicine). To become a registered psychiatrist in Malaysia, he/she must complete the four years (minimal) course in master  degree and six months of gazetted training.


As a medical doctor, a psychiatrist has received the basic science training in pharmacology. As a result, one of the  main difference between a psychiatrist from a psychologist is that psychiatrist is allowed to prescribed medication  together with psychotherapy for his clients.



Clinical psychologist is a subspecialty in psychology. First, he/she must complete the study in the bachelor degree in  psychology which is a three to four years course. However, a psychology graduate does not have the knowledge psychology  treatment. This is because the basic degree in psychology does not include clinical psychology training.


To become a clinical psychologist, he/she must received a further training in master in clinical psychology. Only a certified  clinical psychologist is allowed to give treatment to clients with psychiatric illnesses. In view of clinical psychologist is not a  medical doctor, he/she is not allowed to prescribe medications but only provide psychotherapy for the clients.