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
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.