What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist and how do I know which professional my child needs to see?

Many people are unsure of the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in mental health and is primarily trained to prescribe medications and diagnose psychiatric disorders, although some psychiatrists can also offer psychological therapies as well. Some childhood mental health conditions can be treated with medication which can help control and improve symptoms. If a psychiatrist prescribes medication for your child, the professional will usually encourage combining the medication with psychological therapy according to best practice guidelines.

Clinical psychologists are not medical doctors and therefore are unable to prescribe medication. They are trained to doctoral level at university and have completed intensive training in the treatment of mental health problems through a variety of types of talking therapies. During their doctoral training, clinical psychologists complete training placements with adults, children, older adults and people with learning disabilities, learn advanced research methods and skills in service development.

How do I go about arranging an initial consultation?

 Psychology Appointments

 For psychology appointments, we work on a self-referral basis. In order to ensure that we can match meet your child’s treatment needs we have created an online referral form. Once received, this form will be reviewed by our clinical team and you will be contacted within 1 working day to arrange an initial consultation. We aim to offer you an initial appointment within a week but often it can be as soon as 48 hours.

*Please note: If you are planning to pay via private medical insurance, you will generally require a GP referral. Please refer to our insurance page to check if this is necessary with your provider.

 Psychiatry Appointments

In line with best practice guidelines, we require a referral from your child’s GP, their school, or another health professional if you wish your child to see our Consultant Child Psychiatrist.


What happens in an initial consultation & who should attend?



What should I tell my child?

 Sometimes parents are not sure what to tell their child, however it is very important that your child knows that they are coming to The Edinburgh Practice and important that they know why.  Many parents find it helpful to explain that they understand that things have been tough and to say something like, “I know you have been upset lately so I  have made an appointment with a person who understands why children [e.g. worry a lot/ feel really sad/feel scared] to talk about ways of making things better for you”. This can often be a good opportunity to talk through any concerns or worries in advance of the appointment. You and your child can view our website together www.edinburghpractice.com and look at the practice photos which may help put your child at ease that it is a friendly and welcoming place.


What if I need help urgently for my child?

 We do not offer an emergency or crisis service. Please contact your GP, out of hours GP or your local accident and emergency department if needing urgent care for your child. Links to useful websites and support lines can be found on the links page of this website. 


Do you have a cancellation policy?

 Yes, we operate a strict 48 hour cancellation policy for private appointments. Cancellations made within this period will be charged at the full rate. Cancellations can be made via phone or email.


How do I make payment?

 You can pre-pay for your appointments by calling us on 0131 259 5932 using a debit or credit card. You can also pay via debit, credit card or cheque upon arrival at the practice.  If you would rather pay via bank transfer, please let us know and we can send an invoice via email; however please note that payment must be made before the date of the appointment. Please note that we do not take cash payments for our services.


Can I use medical insurance?

 This depends on the nature of your policy. Please check with your provider to see whether psychology and/or psychiatry are covered, how many sessions can be included and if there are any other restrictions. Some therapists on the team are registered with the major health insurance providers – Cigna, Pruhealth, Aviva, BUPA International, etc. Please ask us first to see which professionals are registered, as you will be responsible for any payments accrued regardless of the type of insurance cover you have. 

For further information please see our page on USING HEALTH INSURANCE TO PAY FOR TREATMENT (link to health insurance page)



Make an appointment and we’ll contact you.


Your prescription request has been received. Please allow up to 14 days for this to be processed.