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Individual counselling

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?


Psychologists and counsellors are both mental health professionals, and do have some overlap in the styles of therapy used, however there are some differences between the two, and knowing the differences will help you decide who will be the best fit for your current difficulties/mental health concerns. Every clinician will have different skills, strengths, therapy styles, as well as individual personalities, so it’s important to find someone that you feel will understand and support you. Research tells us that getting on well with your clinician is the single biggest predictor of successful change in therapy.


Psychologists are allied health professionals who require university qualifications. They complete four to six years of tertiary study, and are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, management and/or prevention of mental health conditions. They do not prescribe medication for pharmaceutical drugs (that’s the role of a Psychiatrist). Psychologists use “talk therapies”  – evidence based treatments and interventions that focus on human behaviour and the processes involved in how people think and feel.


The main role of a counsellor is not to diagnose/treat mental illness or significant trauma, but to apply psychotherapy techniques to provide support. Typically, counsellors will focus on immediate and practical issues, such as processing grief or anger, identifying options and pathways for life decisions (either personal or professional), ways to manage conflict, as well as improving interpersonal and communication skills. This is generally more short-term management, focussing on your immediate concerns or struggles and encouraging you to seek positive solutions for your ideal outcome. There will be opportunities for self-reflection and increased self-awareness by identifying patterns of behaviour, or how your thoughts and feelings affect your day-to-day life.

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