Purpose and Mission
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that are trained to diagnose, treat and prevent mental, emotional and behavioural disorders using a variety of modalities. Conditions typically treated by psychiatrists include anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
The discipline of psychiatry applies all aspects of the biopsychosocial model, with a holistic approach to bring together the body and mind of a patient.
The large majority of psychiatrists work in a private practice. This means most don’t have a direct supervisor, but are generally overseen by their professional organization or a medical committee of a hospital where they practice. Quite a few psychiatrists are employed by a hospital or clinic, and they often report to a service or department head at that facility.
Senior staff psychiatrists may supervise a number of team members including junior psychiatrists, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Psychiatrists working in private practice typically have minimal supervisory responsibilities outside of the practice, but may serve on the board or in a management capacity at the practice.
A psychiatrist has earned a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree by graduating from medical school. Like all doctors, psychiatrists have to complete an at least two-year clinical residency to be licensed to practice independently.
Specialties within psychiatry include adolescent psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, child psychiatry, forensic psychiatrist, geriatric psychiatrist, medical psychotherapist.
Those who wish to become certified specialists in psychiatry may apply to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists for several years of additional training that will lead to a fellowship.
Responsibilities of a Psychiatrist
The primary job responsibilities of a psychiatrist include: