3 mins

Counsellor vs. therapist vs. psychologist – what’s the difference?

Video Description

Consultant psychologist at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic in London, Dr Elena Touroni, clarifies the importance professional differences between counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Chelsea Psychology Clinic are a group of London psychologists and psychiatrists offering private psychological therapy and psychiatry treatment from their premises across central London and Chelsea. The private therapy sessions cover the following areas: – Acceptance & Commitment Therapy – Cognitive Analytic Therapy – Cognitive-behavioural Therapy – Couples Therapy – Dialectical-behaviour Therapy – Mentalisation Based Treatment – Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy – Schema Therapy https://www.thechelseapsychologyclinic.com

Video Transcription

So there is a lot of people that offer psychological therapy. Counsellors typically have relatively minimal training in counselling and are able to offer fairly supportive interventions. Or they might have training in a very particular approach of counselling, for instance, psychodynamic counselling. The term “counsellor” isn’t in any way regulated. So, people who might be offering counselling, they might belong to a regulatory body, but also because the term is so generic, somebody who isn’t necessarily a professional counsellor could be using the term. With psychotherapy, usually people will have in-depth training in a particular therapeutic approach. So again, they will be able to offer one pure therapeutic approach to a client. But the training is longer, and people are regulated by the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists. Again, it’s important to check that one’s therapist is actually regulated by a particular regulatory body. Now, the term “practitioner psychologist” is regulated, and that’s through the Health Professions Council. So somebody, in order for them to be able to operate as a qualified psychologist and offer psychological therapy, have to be registered with the Health Professions Council. It’s a very robust process of registration. And they also have to have doctoral training, rather than just a qualification in psychotherapy. So all psychologists have completed a first degree of psychology and at least a three-year doctoral training. And then, the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists, which is very commonly sort of confused and misunderstood, is that psychiatrists actually are medical doctors, so they will have done training… kind of generic medicine and might have worked as medical doctors for a period of time. And then at the point of specialism, they will become specialists in psychiatry. So at that point, it means that they no longer practice general medicine anymore, but they become specialists in seeing people that suffer from mental disorders. And the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychologists offer exclusively talking therapy, whereas psychiatrists will mainly prescribe medication.

Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni

19 June 2022

"Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector."

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.


Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr. Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.


Dr. Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.


She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.