What is the difference between a Counselor, a Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist?

Many people can be confused about the difference between a counsellor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist when they are seeking help either for themselves or for a loved one. It can be somewhat confusing when seeking assistance from one of these professionals, as there are many similarities and some differences between each role.

It is important to find one that suits you and your needs at your present time. We’re better able to navigate these periods when we are able to access the right support, medication or services. Sometimes the right treatment is a lifesaving.

In today’s post I will be explaining the difference between a Counselor, a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist when seeking assistance.

  • Counselor

Counselors use a talk-based therapy to help people to develop self-understanding and make changes in their lives.

Counseling is a process of talking about and working through your personal problems. A counselor helps you address your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. For some people, being able to tell their story to a counselor and being listened to is helpful.

Counselors can also take on a case-management role. This can mean they look at a whole support plan which can include talking to other services, making referrals for support around say financial, housing or other support services depending on the individual.

  • Psychologist

A Psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn. People may talk to a psychologist because they have felt depressed, angry or anxious over an extensive period of time. They also may want help for a chronic condition that is interfering with their lives of physical health. For others they may have short-term problems they want help navigating, such as feeling overwhelmed in a new job.

A psychologist can help people learn to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, manage their chronic illnesses and break pas the barriers that keep them from reaching their goals.

Overall most psychologist provide assessments and therapy to clients, help facilitate organisational or social change, conduct psychological research or administer psychological tests to individuals or groups

  • Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed training to specialise in understanding of both physical and mental health and how they affect each other. Psychiatrists understand physical and mental illness and can prescribe medication.

Psychiatrists specialise in complex mental health issues. You might see a psychiatrist if you’re experiencing severe depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis, eating disorders or other personality or emotional disorders. They make a diagnosis and work with you to develop a management plan for your treatment and recovery.

Amanda OgdenAmanda Ogden is from Sydney Australia, and has spent the past 13 years working within the welfare industry in both administration and case management assisting people with mental health issues, mild intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, drug & alcohol, homelessness gain employment. She also loves travelling, creating jewellery, music, friends and family.

One thought on “What is the difference between a Counselor, a Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist?

  1. Really helpful thank you. I don’t know who I saw, a counsellor I think, but she was wonderful and helped me understand why I did the things I did which frankly was half the solution. Then she helped me to find other ways of thinking about things, in a more positive way. That was the hard bit, to undo all of the habits! Katie

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