Ideally both… Let me show you some specific scenarios from my clinical experience.
Say; you are struggling to be happy in your marriage. There are continual fights, misunderstandings and fears. Marriage Counseling should be the first port of call here. However; if your issues appear intractable; a psychiatrist maybe able to expose a hidden Paranoid Schizophrenia or a Depression which makes it difficult for spouses to connect with each other.
Say; you can’t stomach the thought of getting into a flight or an elevator. You are always on the edge. You freeze on the stage. You know the answers thoroughly but exam anxiety pulls down your ranks. You feel persistently low. These kind of situations are best resolved with a joint treatment program from both a Counselor and a Psychiatrist.
Now that you know the difference between a Counselor and a Psychiatrist; it is also useful to know the ground reality that most psychiatrists are too busy to listen for more than 5 to 10 minutes and they like to restrain themselves to prescription of medication. In such a case you can see if they will put you on to a in-house Counselor or someone they know.
I will be quick to add that there are many Psychiatrists who love to counsel too. It is really a professional decision all of us have to take for ourselves. When I started my clinical practice I decided to devote a large part of my clinic time to counseling as I personally felt more fulfilled in helping my clients with changing their thinking than just prescribing pills and leaving it at that.
Whoever you decide to meet; ensure experience & professionalism. Be frank and open with your treatment team.
Let us know your experience with counselors and/or psychiatrists by commenting below.
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