Psychotherapists work with patients to help them better understand and manage their internal world, which includes all their thoughts and feelings, both conscious and unconscious. While some psychiatrists do this as well, they are trained medical doctors, and in the U.S., often focus on the prescription and management of medication. While medication is helpful for many people, it addresses symptoms and not underlying issues. Taking medication without seeing a psychotherapist is like taking pain killers without seeing a cardiologist or cancer doctor.
Generally speaking I recommend individual’s first work with a psychotherapist, who can refer to a psychiatrist if necessary. If it’s
determined that medication is in order, it serves the individual to continue with their psychotherapist to address the underlying issues, and have their medication managed by the psychiatrist.
In some cases psychiatrists are also trained in psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, but this is less common. A psychiatrist who is trained
and does talk therapy as well could treat both underlying issues with talk therapy, and symptoms with medication, but it’s much less likely to find such an individual, and psychiatrists tend to be more costly, as they are medically trained physicians.
It’s rather common that psychiatrists will see patients once a month for 30 minutes or less for medication management. It’s typical to see a psychotherapist / talk therapist once a week, if not more, for 45 minutes.