What's the difference between the different mental health professions?
Counsellor, psychotherapist, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist
Ok, so I know therapy can be useful, but who do I go to? It’s all so confusing, counsellor, psychotherapist, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist… What’s the difference?
A Counsellor holds a Bachelor or Master’s degree and often addresses a specific issue. Counselling can be a one time meeting, or last for a couple weeks or even months. (Samiyah)
A Psychotherapist holds a Master’s degree and must be registered with a college. They provide a more in depth exploration of how your past, certain dynamics, or beliefs impact current issues. This can be continuous, or on and off for years.
Counselling & psychotherapy can often overlap. A psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, and not vice versa.
A Social work helps people access and navigate social services that include but are not limited to: education, employment, housing, health care, community supports and advocacy. (They can also provide counselling or psychotherapy if they have the appropriate training).
A Psychologist holds a Master’s or Doctorate degree and is trained in administering tests for assessment and diagnosis purposes. They can also provide treatment.
A Psychiatrist has a medical degree specializing in mental health. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat mental health issues and can provide medication if necessary.
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