Psychotherapist: ‘There is a general understanding that a psychotherapist can work with a wider range of clients and can offer more in-depth work where appropriate’ (UKCP).
Psychotherapy provides long lasting change and resolution of the pervasive, underlying issues. Clients often report healthy lifestyle changes occurring after just a few sessions and many see a significant difference in their lives within the first three to six months. Psychotherapy works best when it is consistent and attended weekly.
Psychotherapists who have had rigorous training, have trained for at least four years and perhaps up to eight years. Trainee therapists are also required to have a significant amount of their own personal therapy per year and usually group therapy throughout the duration of their training. This means that rigorously trained psychotherapists have ‘walked the path’ similar to that which their clients will be journeying along.
Counsellor: Counselling normally focuses on a specific issue and tends to be more short-term work, from 6 sessions to 6 months. There are different types of counsellors. Some train for a few hours, some train for up to four years. The three main types of counsellors are:
Therapeutic and psychotherapeutic counsellors are able to work at greater depth and with a wider range of issues. Counselling works best when it is consistent and attended weekly.
Social Worker: Social work’s primary focus is on the social determinants of health. This means that the social worker takes a holistic view of health and well-being. They work towards maximizing human potential and they advocate for social change (AASW). If you are seeking a social worker for counselling or psychotherapy, be sure to check that they have post qualification training in counselling or psychotherapy.
Psychologist: Psychology uses scientific methods to study the mind and human behaviour – it is a medically orientated model. Psychologists work in many fields: health and welfare services, government departments, academic institutions, education, corporations, community agencies, training and development and in private practice (APS). If you are seeking psychotherapy with a psychologist, be sure to check that they have post qualification training in psychotherapy or clinical psychology.
Psychiatrist: Psychiatry involves the study of medicine and then training in mental and psychiatric illness. A psychiatrist prescribes medication. Most psychiatry training these days does not include depth psychotherapy as it used to – it is mostly prescription based. Therefore, counselling or psychotherapy sessions are recommended alongside medication to help to get to the root of the problem. The latest evidence shows that psychotherapy works better than medication for symptoms such as depression and anxiety.