There are a lot of different titles thrown around in the world of therapy, and it can difficult to know what the differences are, and therefore who you might want or need to see.
In the UK, a lot of these titles aren't actually protected. This means that anyone can give themselves the title. It can be scary, and it unfortunately happens across so many sectors. I will write a separate blog about how to help you find a counsellor/therapist who is acting ethically.
For today, I wanted to cover what all of the names mean and hopefully help explain some of the differences.
Medically qualified doctors who have chosen to work in psychiatry. This is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions. They can prescribe medication, as well as recommend treatments like counselling. They may have had training in counselling skills, however how they see and work with clients will differ from a counselling/psychotherapist.
This usually means someone with a degree in Psychology and they study the mind and behaviours. They can administer and interpret psychological tests and assessments. There can be different sub categories such as clinical psychologist, forensic psychologist etc. Some psychologists will work in research, and others such as a clinical psychologist might work in a multi discipline team to support someone. They may have had training in counselling skills, however how they see and work with clients will differ from a counselling/psychotherapist.
This is a trained therapist who uses talking therapy. Their training would have included the theory and practice in how to work with a variety of issues. The term counsellor crosses over with psychotherapist, and therapist. They are sometimes used interchangeably. Counselling will usually refer to dealing with a specific issue over a shorter time. For example something that has happened recently such as a bereavement.
This is a trained therapist who also uses talking therapy. Their training, as a counsellor, will have included the theory and practice in how to work with a variety of different issues. Where counselling is used for shorter term therapy, a psychotherapist will be looking at identifying and working with the root causes of issues. This is deeper work and can often take place over a longer time span than counselling.