Psychiater, Psychologen, Psychotherapeut or Heilpraktiker für Psychotherapie: What is the Difference?

pharmacist, Pharmazeutisch-kaufmännische:r Angestellte:r (PKA), woman, medicine, doctor

I requested for contact to a psychologist/psychiatrist a while back and what started as a search for contacts ended up in an description of the various professions.

I honestly thought the difference was in how one qualified e.g. either as a branch of medicine or a course on its own or an ausbildung. Although this is a major difference, I’d like to highlight the difference in their healing methods.



Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the studydiagnosistreatment, and prevention of mental disordersMental disorders are diagnosed in accordance with criteria listed in diagnostic manuals.

They match the symptoms to those in the diagnostic manuals then prescribe antidepressants to suppress the condition, without taking time to understand the client. The main problem in this case is the fact that most of the diagnostic manuals are based on research on European/caucasian subjects, which can differ when diagnosing African patients. Also the constant prescription of anti-depressants leads to addiction of the client.

Psychiatrists base their knowledge from research and books and will easily identify a disorders and treat the disorders without going the extra mile to prevent further disorders.

They work with Schulmedizin which is not always the best way especially when dealing with different nationalities.



Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behaviours. Psychology has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Just like in psychiatry, symptoms are grouped based on general principles, thus patients are treated based on the general understanding of symptoms without finding out how an individual reacts to different stamina.

Psychologists follow theories without understanding how individuality influences mental reactions.

Just like psychiatrists, they work with Schulmedizin and prescribe anti-depressants quite fast.



Psychotherapy is therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client.  Its purpose is the exploration of thoughts, feelings and behavior for the purpose of problem solving or achieving higher levels of functioning. Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual’s sense of his/her own well-being.

They take time to get to know the client and their problems, then find a solution or proper treatment for the condition.

Heilpraktiker für Psychotherapie

Heilpraktiker (Healing Practitioner) is a naturopathic degree in Germany. It is recognized as an alternative and complementary health care profession. A Heilpraktiker is a person who is allowed to practice as a non-medical practitioner using any unconventional therapy he or she is trained in.

They take time to get to know the client and their problems, then find a solution or proper treatment for the condition.

A Heilpraktiker works with alternative methods and usually believes in Selbstheilung with your own mind and effort and in addition maybe with homeopathy for a while if it’s really an urgent case.

Heilpraktiker will take each patient’s case individually without grouping them into genaralized disorders so they might use alternative means of treatment apart from medicine.

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