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By Kaizen, June (2011) edition of bazaar
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Mind Bubble
Mind Bubble

Do you have questions for a psychologist? Are you afraid or embarrassed to see one? Well, we may have the answers you need! Now you can ask Dr. Juliet and Dr. Nisrine for psychological and social advice for free!

Q. What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A. Many people don’t even know that there is a difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.   A psychologist holds a doctorate degree in psychology and has acquired extensive education and many hours of training in diagnosing and treating family, individual and/or child/adolescent problems. A psychiatrist holds a medical degree and mainly prescribes medication.    A psychologist can offer 50-60 minutes of talk therapy, as well as additional services such as personality and IQ testing. A psychiatrist meets with the client for a shorter period of time in order to address the chemical and hormonal imbalances through medication.

A psychologist and a psychiatrist work very closely together. For example, when a patient is experiencing difficulties sleeping and is always worried, he/she will first go see a psychiatrist to understand the problem behind their sleep and worry. Then the psychiatrist will give them medication to help them calm down and get restful sleep, and then the psychiatrist will refer them to a psychologist to work on the source of the sleep and worry problems. The medication, in this case, will work on the biological aspects of the problem, and the talk therapy will help in understanding the hidden feelings of the past that are affecting the person now. 

Q. How do I know if I am depressed?

A. You know that you are depressed when you feel very sad, you have problems with your sleep (i.e. sleeping too much or too little), you are not interested in social activities, you prefer being alone, you have helpless thoughts, and you are generally hopeless about your future. Also, you may have low energy, have a negative view of yourself and others, and when you feel that keeping up with your hygiene takes a lot of effort. Psychologists diagnose people with depression when they have five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks. As you can see, depression affects your mood, your thoughts, and your behavior. However, it is curable if you seek help early on, by a psychologist. 

Q. How can I deal with stress so that my daily life is not affected?

A. In general, if you are leading a healthy life which includes regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and you have a good sleep routine, you are reducing the chances of having stress that you can’t handle. However, given life’s responsibilities we can’t avoid stress completely. If you do experience stress, don’t allow it to grow and deal with it immediately. Before stress becomes a big problem, there are many positive things that you can do. First, write down all the things that are making you stressed. Second, identify which stressors are easier to deal with now and which ones you can deal with later. Remember, be realistic, don’t worry about things you can’t address right now, and set realistic expectations of yourself and others. Third, don't try to do everything on your own and ask for help if you can't handle the problems alone. Fourth, if you have tried all these steps and are still feeling stressed, maybe you need to see a psychologist to help you with organizing your thoughts and finding solutions to your stressors.

For psychological advice, send your questions to Please note that not all questions can be published. 

Dr. Juliet and Dr. Nisrine are bilingual and bicultural expert psychologists on various personal and social issues. Visit

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