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How to become a Psychiatrist

avg. starting salary

Are you fascinated with how the human mind works? Then why not consider training to become a Psychiatrist? A Psychiatrist is someone who specialises in diagnosing and treating mental health problems. If you become one, you'll be a medically qualified doctor and able to prescribe medication, which is how the profession differs from Psychology. Psychiatrists work in a range of settings, from their own practices and people's homes, to prisons and residential centres, so this is one of the most varied careers in medicine. Among a Psychiatrist's main responsibilities will be:
  • Assessing and diagnosing mental illness using a combination of analytical approaches
  • Meeting regularly with patients to discuss their problems
  • Suggesting changes in behavioural patterns as part of treatment programmes
  • Carrying out long-term psychotherapy and counselling sessions
  • Prescribing medication to correct chemical imbalances in the brain

To become a succesful Psychiatrist, you will need to be both extremely analytical and very good with people. Patients will be disclosing extremely confidential information to you on a daily basis, so the ability to build trust is similarly essential in this industry. A great Psychiatrist will also be:
  • A great listener
  • Knowledgeable about science and medicine
  • Excellent at communicating with others
  • Caring, and able to put people at ease
  • Able to make decisions about potentially difficult subjects under pressure
  • Patient and tactful

"Being a Psychiatrist is hugely rewarding because you can make a real difference to people's lives when they are at their most troubled. It's fantastic to watch a patient make the transition back to a fulfilling, satisfying life after struggling with a mental illness. It's also a very varied career, because no two cases are ever the same, so I can safely say I've never been bored - although remember it can be very challenging at times."

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