Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist or Counsellor? Are they all the same?

Finding the right help for you can be confusing. There are lots of professionals offering what may appear to be the same service but at very different costs. I hope this information may help you decide who might be best placed to help. However I would encourage you to look around and talk to prospective professionals about how they may be able to help, and whether you feel confident in them understanding your difficulties and being competent in being able to facilitate change. 

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychologists are mental health professionals who have completed an undergraduate degree or equivalent in psychology. They would typically then gain clinical experience in mental health settings and then complete one of the accredited three year Doctorates in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy). Clinical Psychologists are trained in a number of different types of talking therapy to help people with a range of different mental health difficulties, are trained to undertake and evaluate current research to determine the most effective treatments, and who often supervise the clinical practice of other mental health professionals. Whilst anyone who has completed a psychology degree can call themselves a psychologist, the term Clinical Psychologist is a legally protected title that safeguards the quality and rigor of the training they have undergone.

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have undergone the same undergraduate medical degree as other doctors in the NHS. They then complete years of further training that specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health difficulties according to diagnostic categories and treatment recommendations. In the UK Psychiatrists don't typically offer talking therapy/Psychotherapy and instead more typically help to diagnose and treat problems with prescribed medication.

Counsellors/Psychotherapists

Counsellors have completed at least a diploma in counselling or a particular model of therapy such as CBT. The term counsellor and psychotherapist is not a legally protected title and it is worth exploring what training they have received. Counsellors and psychotherapists are trained to work with individuals and couples to address a number of different common mental health dificulties.



 

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