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Do Psychiatrists Do Therapy? Psychiatry Roles & Titles Explained

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Do Psychiatrists Do Therapy

In the realm of mental health treatment, understanding the roles of different professionals can be crucial for individuals seeking the proper support. At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, people often ask, “Do psychiatrists do therapy?” 

Although “therapy” can be used to refer to a range of treatments, including medical interventions, most individuals who ask this question want to know if a psychiatrist will provide “talk therapy,” also known as psychotherapy, a primarily conversation-based method of mental health treatment. With that in mind, what kind of therapy can you expect from a psychiatrist?

Do Psychiatrists Do Talk Therapy?

Yes, psychiatrists do provide talk therapy, but it’s important to distinguish their role from that of other mental health professionals. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses. While they are trained in various forms of therapy, such as psychotherapy or counseling, their primary focus is often on prescribing medication and managing the biological aspects of mental health conditions.

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Psychiatrists also do therapy sessions with their patients, especially when medication management is part of the treatment plan. These sessions typically involve discussing medication’s effects, monitoring progress, and addressing any concerns or side effects. However, for more in-depth, regular talk therapy, individuals often seek the expertise of psychologists, counselors, or therapists who specialize in various therapeutic approaches.

The Roles Of Different Mental Health Professionals

The mental health field is diverse, with a range of professionals available to meet the needs of the public. 

  • Psychologists are trained professionals who study and treat mental processes and behaviors, utilizing various therapeutic approaches. A distinct profession from psychiatrists, they are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication.
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health and providing comprehensive psychiatric care. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can prescribe medication.
  • Psychiatric physician associates are healthcare professionals trained to work alongside psychiatrists, assisting in patient care and treatment planning. Their role is supplemental, so they will not usually lead a therapy session or prescribe medication.
  • Therapists can refer to a range of mental health professionals who employ various therapeutic techniques to assist clients in understanding and overcoming psychological difficulties. They are not medical doctors and cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medications.
  • Counselors are non-medical professionals trained to guide and support individuals or groups, helping them navigate emotional and mental health challenges.
  • Social workers are non-medical professionals who help individuals and communities cope with various life challenges by providing support, resources, and advocacy for mental and emotional well-being. LCSW (licensed clinical social workers) can provide therapy.

Choosing the right mental health service for you can depend on various factors, including the severity of your symptoms, availability of services in your area, past treatment history, and insurance coverage.

What Treatments Can You Get From A Psychiatrist?

Talk therapy can be a powerful tool, but it often isn’t enough to address the biological basis of many mental health disorders like depression, which stem from chemical irregularities in areas of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex. Often, some form of medical intervention is required, whether as a standalone treatment or supported by psychotherapy, and that’s where psychiatrists come in (1,2).

While pharmaceuticals such as antidepressant medications are usually the first-line treatment options, at Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, we recognize the evolving landscape of mental health care and offer innovative treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS is a non-invasive and FDA-approved therapy for individuals with treatment-resistant depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It uses tiny magnetic pulses to stimulate specific brain areas associated with the symptoms of mood disorders to regulate neurotransmitter activity to a healthy level.

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TMS is an effective alternative for individuals with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who may not respond well to traditional forms of psychotherapy or medication alone (3, 4, 5, 6). Unlike pharmaceutical interventions, TMS has minimal side effects and does not involve systemic exposure to drugs. At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, we work closely with patients to determine if TMS is a suitable option, providing personalized care to address the unique needs of each individual.

Do I Need A Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists play a crucial role in addressing the biological aspects of mental illnesses, including medication management. While they do engage in therapy sessions, their primary focus is often on the medical aspects of treatment. For those seeking comprehensive mental health care, it’s essential to consider a personalized approach with the assistance of a medical doctor, such as a psychiatrist, to find the best treatment.

If you or a loved one is navigating the complexities of mental health treatment, Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry is here to help. Our experienced team of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychiatric physician associates offers various services, including talk therapy, medication management, and innovative treatments like TMS.

Take the first step toward mental well-being by contacting us online or calling (212) 731-2033 for an appointment or consultation. Let us be your partner on the journey to improved mental health!


  1. van Bronswijk S, Moopen N, Beijers L, Ruhe HG, Peeters F. Effectiveness of psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression: a meta-analysis and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine. 2019;49(3):366-379. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
  2. Jobst A, Brakemeier E-L, Buchheim A, et al. European Psychiatric Association Guidance on psychotherapy in chronic depression across Europe. European Psychiatry. 2016;33(1):18-36. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
  3. Sackeim HA, et al. Clinical Outcomes in a Large Registry of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder Treated with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. J Affective Disorders. 2020; 277(12):65-74. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
  4. Roth Y, Barnea-Ygael N, Carmi L, Storch EA, Tendler A, and Zangen A. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder is efficacious even in patients who failed multiple medications and CBT. Psychiatry Research. 2020;290:113179. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
  5. White D, Tavakoli S. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of major depressive disorder with comorbid generalized anxiety disorder. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2015 Aug;27(3):192-6. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
  6. Petrosino, N. J., Cosmo, C., Berlow, Y. A., Zandvakili, A., & Philip, N. S. Transcranial magnetic stimulation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 2021;11. Link. Accessed January 11, 2024.
Dr. David Woo

Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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If you're in the New York City area, contact us online to check your insurance coverage and schedule your first appointment.

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