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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.

With TherapyOwl, you can filter therapists based on your needs. With a tailored list, you can browse listings to learn more about each therapist. When you find one you like, you can contact them to ask questions or book your first appointment in a few easy clicks.

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