Do I see a psychiatrist or psychologist for my condition? What’s the difference?
A psychiatrist has a medical degree and can prescribe medication for psychiatric conditions, such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. Some, but not all, psychiatrists offer “talk therapy” to their patients.
A clinical psychologist typically has a degree in psychology and at least two years of postgraduate training in clinical psychology. Generally, clinical psychologists receive more training in “talk therapy” and as such, specialise in this area.
You may be referred to see a psychiatrist for medication needs, or to a clinical psychologist for “talk therapy”.
How do I get referred to see a mental health practitioner?
You may be referred by:
- Your primary care doctor
- Your lawyer who may refer you for an assessment as your mental health condition can impact legal decisions, such as the ability to make a will
- Contacting our contact centre (self-referral)
How long is a treatment session?
|Treatment||1st Session||Subsequent Sessions|
|Psychiatry||45 minutes||15 minutes|
|Psychotherapy||60 minutes||45 minutes|
|Family Counselling||60 minutes||60 minutes|
How long do I have to be on treatment?
Not all mental health conditions require long-term treatment. For example, anti-depressants can be discontinued 6-9 months after one episode of uncomplicated depressive illness. Most patients benefit from 8-12 sessions of psychotherapy, which may last 6-9 months for one episode of illness.
What happens when I run out of medications before my appointment?
You may make an appointment to see a doctor for a consultation and medication top up.
Are psychiatric conditions included under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP)?
The Ministry of Health website lists these four conditions under CDMP:
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
For the latest updates, please refer to the
Ministry of Health website.
Will my medical information be released to employers, government agencies and university administrators without my knowledge?
Your medical information will not be released without your prior consent, unless it is required by law.