What is a Psychiatrist vs. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner? Should I see a Psychiatrist or Psychotherapist?
This page is designed to help individuals understand the differences between psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychologists, and how to use these nuances to find the right provider for their psychiatric care.
Finding the best Psychiatrist in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Delaware or wherever you reside in can seem rather daunting (especially when struggling with depression, anxiety, a substance use disorder, ADHD or other mental health difficulties). This site is designed to help you not only determine whether our Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners or Psychotherapists may be the best fit for your individual needs, but also to provide you with basic information regarding psychiatry, mental health treatment, and psychiatric resources available.
Before I find a psychiatrist near me, I need some general information…
What is a Psychiatrist? What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
A Psychiatrist is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists in Philadelphia, New York and throughout the US generally have four years of undergraduate studies in college, four years of medical school, a year of internship in medicine or surgery and then three additional years of specialized training in Psychiatry, Psychopharmacology and Psychotherapy. Therefore, unlike Psychologists and Therapists, Psychiatrists are physicians who can provide both therapy and medication management for their patients.
What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (“Psych NP”)?
A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (“Psych NP”) is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners must complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, a Master’s of Science in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and then become Board Certified to prescribe medications; both Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are Psychopharmacologists. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners may work relatively autonomously, providing both medication management and therapy for their patients, provided that they have an agreement regarding supervision and case discussion with a physician or Psychiatrist. For additional information, click here.
What is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist (“CAP”)?
A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist (CAP) is a physician who completed four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, a year of internship in medicine or surgery, an Adult Psychiatric Residency (3-4 years) and then completed an additional 2 years of “Fellowship” focusing only on the Psychiatric treatment of children and adolescents. For information on our Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and other providers, click here.
Why see a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner when my primary care doctor can write for the same medications?
Psychiatrists and general practitioners (internal medicine physicians and family doctors) have the same four years of medical school and similar internships. However, Psychiatrists have three additional years dedicated to Psychiatric evaluations and treatment and this provides them with expertise in mental health that other physicians do not have. For example, a general practitioner can prescribe medication for elevated cholesterol or blood pressure, but some patients may benefit from having the additional expertise of a cardiologist.
Similarly, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners complete extensive training in the medical care of patients with various medical conditions, followed by additional training in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of individuals struggling with mental health difficulties. This training includes Board Certification in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing & Psychopharmacology. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Delaware and throughout the US generally have several times the training in treating mental illness, than medical doctors (MD’s) in primary care specialties.
How Can I Find a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Near Me?
Whether you live in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Manhattan, or on The Main Line, finding a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner that best fits your specific needs can seem overwhelming. However, it’s no different than finding a specialist in any other area of medicine. Talk to your doctor about Psychiatrists that they recommend, call the departments of Psychiatry at local hospitals or teaching institutions, call your insurance carrier and ask about providers near you that accept your insurance plan, or search the Internet for Psychiatrists in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or your hometown directly. Specify in search engines what you are looking for (and where). Search engines like “Psychology Today” can allow you to filter searches based on insurances accepted or areas of Psychiatric expertise. If you have family or friends who have seen a local psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioners it may be reasonable to ask if they would recommend (or not recommend) a certain doctor or Psychiatrist in the area. See the “Resources” tab or “Contact” or staff for our referral list, for additional information on finding a psychiatrist.
I’ve found several Psychiatrists near me, now how do I choose the Best Local Psychiatrist in Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Delaware or My Area?
Take your specific Psychiatric illness or struggle into consideration. For example, if you have been hospitalized for your mental illness, you would likely benefit from a Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or other Psychiatrist in a major city with admitting privileges at a hospital nearby (University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson Hospital, or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for example). If you struggle with anxiety and panic, you may want a psychiatrist trained in CBT or exposure therapy. If you are looking for a child or adolescent, you would likely benefit from a Psychiatrist who completed a child and adolescent fellowship. If you have multiple medical co-morbidities, you may benefit from a provider who has a strong medical background or is affiliated with a hospital network where you currently have providers in other areas of medicine (making coordination of care more seamless).
Finally, Psychiatry and mental health treatment throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or your area is not unlike other areas of medicine in that Psychiatrists’ offices are run in different ways (none being “right” or “wrong” but you may have a preference). Do you want a 5-minute checkup or a 45-minute therapy session? Do you want a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who prescribes quickly or more conservatively? Do you want to see a Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner in your neighborhood or a few towns over? Do you want the ability to have walk-in Psychiatric visits or do you want to have a “reserved” time? Do you want a Psychiatrist who accepts your insurance or do you prefer fee-for-service for discreetness? Is tele-health psychiatry a safe option, or would you best be seen in-person?
If you are interested in seeing a Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner or psychologist in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Manhattan, Delaware or other area that we serve, I recommend you just call us directly! We’ll be happy to pick up the phone and discuss our services.
Call to Schedule: 267-358-6155 x 1
Or Inquire Directly through our Contact Page