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What is the Difference Between a Psychologist, A Psychiatrist and A Counsellor?

When trying to get help for your mental health it can be difficult to know which type of professional to see. In a world of Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Counsellors it can be easy to feel utterly confused about who to see for what. Check out my simple and easy explanation of the differences below:

What is the Difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

  • A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medications that may assist in treating someone’s depression, anxiety or other mental health issue.

  • Whereas a psychologist delivers more of a talking therapy aimed at giving you evidenced based strategies to cope with your symptoms.

  • Simply put, a psychiatrist can prescribe medications where as a psychologist cannot.

What is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?

  • In Australia counsellors are not regulated, so their training can vary from doing a three year bachelor degree or a weekend course at their local community centre.

  • Psychologists on the other hand have to complete at least 6 years of study and training. When it comes time for them to register as a psychologist they must demonstrate to a registration board that they are skilled, experienced and competent to diagnose their clients and offer evidenced based treatments.

  • A simple way to look at it could be that psychologists are specialists in mental health where counsellors are support people working in support services.

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