Doctor, patient, diagnose – they’re powerful words that imply Science, Medicine and a certain reliability and objectivity. But if you’re not standing in your doctor’s office, I strongly suggest you’re a bit careful.
There’s a chiropractor just down the road from me who wears a lab coat, calls herself “Doctor” and calls her clients “patients.” She also “diagnoses” her clients with various ailments.
I came across her because she terrified one of my friends with her “medical advice.”
So here are some facts:
Anyone with a PhD is a doctor. You can get a PhD in lots of subjects from Astronomy to Zoology.
Medical Degree holders are called Doctor – although they don’t usually have PhDs.
Vets are called Doctor although they don’t have Medical Degrees and usually not PhDs either.
There are lots of professions with their own courses that confer Doctor titles. This includes chiropractors, people who use massage techniques and exercise for healing.
Does it matter?
Chiropractors can be very helpful and healing, and a PhD in zoology might have some insight into human health too. I have consulted my vet for my own health and had some excellent advice (‘cause I’m a cow 😊)
However, they are not medical doctors.
Transparent and honest professional people will tell you, “I’m Dr Jane, I have a PhD in physiotherapy but I’m not a medical doctor.” Or they just say, “I’m Jane, I have a PhD in physiotherapy.” They also avoid words like “diagnose” and “patient”.
Should we restrict who can call themselves Doctor?
Frankly, I don’t care what people call themselves, as long as they are transparent about their qualifications.
I run a mile from a chiropractor with a white coat who calls herself “doctor”, just as I run a mile from a clinical psychologist who calls her clients “patients.” I avoid them because anyone who uses souped up words like these is pretending to have training that they don’t have.
I find that misrepresentation extremely concerning. I don't trust people like that.
As there are lots of different doctors about, and social media doesn’t check credentials, I’m extremely careful of what I believe online. I ask a lot of questions and it’s surprising how many shady types are out there without a medical degree are giving “medical advice”.
Here’s what to know about mental health professionals.
A psychiatrist is a doctor, a person with a medical degree and also a specialist. They specialise in diagnosing and treating mental illness. As they are doctors, they can prescribe medicine.
Every other kind of mental health professional, whether they are psychologists, therapists, counsellors, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, or other titles, are not medical doctors. They cannot prescribe medicine or sell you supplements. (And if they tell you that supplements are part of therapy, they’re scamming you.
As for my titles, I have a Master’s Degree, so you can call me Mistress 😊 Kidding! I’m not a doctor of any kind.
I have a Bachelors of Science with Honours in Psychology from Stirling University, Scotland and a Masters with Distinction in Counselling from Open University Malaysia. I’m also a member of some fancy schmancy organisations like the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy but I don’t put that anywhere except for my invoices because I don’t want people to be thinking MBACP means I’m a doc. Also, I make it very clear that I cannot diagnose, and I have plain clients who call me Ellen.
I hope you find this interesting. Tell me what you think in the comments?
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay