What do Psychologists and Psychiatrists do?
A psychologist’s training is often more suited to providing assessments in relation to most developmental disorders (including largely ‘biological’ ones such as autistic spectrum disorders), personality disorders, family issues and therapeutic treatment methods, whereas a Psychiatrist would be necessary if there were particular issues relating to previous or proposed pharmacological interventions as well as where particular approval is required e.g. Section 12 approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Both psychologists and psychiatrists (and, indeed, other professionals including non-clinicians, e.g. academics, with appropriate experience and training) can provide specific diagnoses according to both the ICD and DSM frameworks. This is explicitly stated in the DSM-IV. Indeed, there are a number of DSM diagnoses that it would be very difficult for a medical professional to give on their own: Reading Disorder (essentially dyslexia) and Mental Retardation (i.e. learning disability) being examples that require formal psychometric assessments that medics are not generally qualified to give. Psychiatrists are also not automatically qualified to purchase, administer and interpret complex psychological psychometrics (such as the MMPI, possibly the most widely used one) as using them requires training in psychological issues, not psychiatric ones: the publishers do not sell them to people who do not have a clinical psychology or equivalent training (in the same way that non-medics cannot prescribe or give medication).