The treatment of mental health can sometimes be confusing – especially if you are new to working with a therapist. There are several different types of healthcare providers and it can sometimes be hard to clearly identify the roles or scopes of different providers. In short, psychologists in Canada do not prescribe medications. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialized training in the area of mental health that prescribe medications for mental health conditions. Family doctors, pediatricians, and nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications for mental health (for example: medications for depression and anxiety, sleep concerns, mood stabilizers, disorders of inattention and hyperactivity, ect.)
Psychologists can help generally educate regarding if a medication might be useful for you in treatment, and what expectations are realistic for either therapy or medication on its own, as well as a combination of both depending on the specifics of your concerns. If it would be beneficial for you, you and your psychologist can discuss how to communicate with your doctor regarding medications. Your psychologist may also be able to facilitate the process by writing to your doctor or making a referral to a psychiatrist, if you would like this information to be shared.