Centre News

Psychologists Vs. Psychotherapists … What is the difference?

Many people find it difficult to understand the differences between the range of professionals who treat mental health problems such as PTSD, depression and anxiety. Numerous titles are used including psychologist, clinical psychologist, counsellor, and psychotherapist. Below is a brief description of each, the qualifications required to use such titles, and some of the more notable differences.

A psychotherapist is essentially anyone who practices psychotherapy (or psychological therapy). In and of itself, this title does not clearly denote any particular level of qualification or experience. For example, some psychiatrists (with medical degrees and specialised training) refer to themselves as psychotherapists, as do some counsellors (with minimal formal training). It is a fairly broad title, but more often than not is used by someone who practices from a psychoanalytic perspective.

Counsellor is a similarly vague term and like psychotherapist, it is used by a range of practitioners with varying qualifications. In some ways, the most notable feature of someone using this title is that they don’t necessarily have any formal qualifications and they may not be registered with any professional body. As such, their practice may not be monitored as to whether it adheres to standards of ethics and professional conduct.

The title Psychologist is a more definitive one and specifically refers to, and can only be used by, someone who has completed a university based psychology degree. To be a Registered Psychologist, you need to have completed at least 4 years of formal university training plus have at least 2 years of supervised clinical experience. Psychologists are bound by a professional code of conduct and ethics.

Finally, a Clinical Psychologist is a psychologist who has, at least 6 years of University training: As above plus a two year Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, or a three-year Doctor of Psychology, or a 4 year combined masters/PhD. Further, a clinical psychologist is required to complete 2 more years supervised clinical training as well as continuing education on an annual basis. Clinical psychologists have training in the assessment and diagnosis of major mental illnesses and psychological problems. Through their training, clinical psychologists are qualified to provide expert opinion in clinical and compensation areas.

Clinical psychologists are trained in the delivery of a range of techniques and therapies with demonstrated effectiveness in treating mental health disorders. They hold particular skills for applying psychological theory and scientific research to solve complex clinical psychology problems requiring individually tailored interventions.

Contact us today, we are here to talk and to help.

The RSL Veterans’ Centre Bondi Junction offers Clinical Psychology services to veterans and serving members.

Our Centre is committed to providing treatment to assist with the psychological recovery of wounded Australian soldiers and their families.

This service is free and confidential.

Please contact Nikki Abrams on 9389 7245 to book an appointment.

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