Psychological health professionals compared

I often get questions from people who are confused with the difference between counselors and psychotherapists and other types of psychologically trained professionals. I’ll try to explain it simply as possible.

Therapists are trained to work with you over short or long term to help to bring about psychological change and enhance wellbeing. They are trained to work with one or more approaches to psychological change, such as CBT or Person Centred. They do so primarily by talking with you, though other tools, such as art or mindfulness may be used. Therapists don’t typically diagnose you, and work with you within your mental world. They do not prescribe medication.

Therapists, in terms of counselling and psychotherapy, can often be confused with other types of wellbeing and mental health professionals and there are definitely overlaps, because ultimately they deal with mental improvement. Here are other types of professionals and the main differences in comparison to therapists.

  • A Coach looks to identify and make changes a person needs and wants and what is holding them back from achieving it. Coaching looks at the issue, the here and now and changes needed both internally and in the world to obtain confidence needed to achieve these goals. It’s not typically associated with creating deep awareness of the past and how it impacts the present.
  • Clinical Psychologist. Psychology is effectively the study of the way people think, behave and interact. Looking at the way the mind works, psychology covers everyday functioning such as learning which they use to help others in application or research. Psychologist may be skilled in diagnosis, for example a personality disorder.
  • A Psychiatrist is someone who has had medical training and has decided to specialise in psychiatry. The term psychiatry refers to the study of mental disorders. This includes their diagnosis, medication, management and prevention. Psychiatrists often work on a broad range of cases alongside an area of expertise and research.
  • Mediators often work in workplaces, human resources and independently. They work to resolve differences between people. For example, difficulties with an ex-partner, or a work colleagues
  • Mental heal nurses who to provide suport to people who are typically inpatients in psychiatric wards. They have a broad range of skills in the mental health field.


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