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Differences & Similarities Between Counsellors and Psychologists



In Australia we are really lucky to have a variety of quality mental health services that cater for all ages, budgets and diversities. There are free, 24/7 phone services such as Lifeline and Kids Helpline; free and/or low-fee services provided by non-government organisations such as The Salvation Army and in Camden, the amazing Turning Point organisation; we have wonderful social workers and mental health care nurses in our hospitals; most of our schools have a range of psychologists, counsellors, social workers and wellbeing officers; then there are private psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists.

Whatever your concern or diagnosis, there is a person or service to support you.

Comparison of Counsellor Jo and Psychologists

Having such a variety of mental health therapists can make understanding the similarities and differences a little tricky. So, I wanted to provide a little clarification. Note, there are many different types of counsellors so the comparison here relates only to counsellors like myself who are Clinically Registered with the regulation body the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).


Counsellors

Psychologists

Regulated industry

BUT,

only for counsellors who choose to be registered.

I choose to be registered.

Regulated industry. Only people who are registered with the Psychology Board of Australia can practice as a psychologist.

Learn about human development and common times and situations when challenges occur across the lifetime.

Learn about human development and common times and situations when challenges occur across the lifetime.

Learn about common mental health related challenges and their symptoms that come from being human and experiencing life. EG:

Anxiety

Depression

Phobias

Grief, loss and bereavement

Stress

Organisation issues

Social skills issues

Low or negative self-esteem

Body-esteem issues

Low confidence

Self-identity issues

Learn lots about assessing, diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. EG:

Borderline Personality Disorder

Anxiety Disorders

Depressive Disorders

Eating Disorders

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Oppositional Defiance Disorder

Intellectual Disabilities

Addictions (EG: alcohol & other drugs, internet gaming, gambling, sex)

PTSD

When studying a counselling qualification, most subjects relate to learning different types of counselling skills, modalities and strategies to support clients with challenges such as those above.

When studying a psychology qualification, most subjects relate to learning how the brain works, and how to assess, diagnose and treat mental health disorders.

Support private, full fee-paying clients without a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP).

Support private, full fee-paying clients without a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP).

A MHTP is not required which means counsellors can use a wider range of therapy modalities that they are trained in, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Play Therapy, Creative Therapies, Mindfulness, Solution-Focused Therapy, Strength-Based Therapy and Person-Centred Therapy.

This allows the counsellor to use therapy modalities that are a good fit for the client.

Support clients who have a MHTP from their GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician due to a diagnosed mental health disorder.

This allows clients to have subsidised / reduced fee sessions (generally not free sessions), up to a certain number of sessions.

This is recorded on health records and the psychologist is required to provide progress reviews to the GP

To use a MHTP, the psychologist is only allowed to use a few types of therapy modalities. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are very common modalities used.

Trained to know when to refer or collaborate with other health and support services.

Trained to know when to refer or collaborate with other health and support services.

Participated in supervised work placement with real clients whilst studying for my qualification. My work placement went for 9 months and I supported children and adults individually and through small group programs.

Participated in supervised work placement with real clients whilst they were studying for their qualification.

Required to participate in regular clinical supervision with a supervisor to maintain registration and for the benefit of clients.

Required to participate in regular clinical supervision with a supervisor to maintain registration and for the benefit of clients.

Required to undertake continued professional development and training to maintain registration and for the benefit of clients.

Required to undertake continued professional development and training to maintain registration and for the benefit of clients.


Some really great news...

  • Whatever your concern or diagnosis, there is a person or service to support you.

  • Mental Health Treatment Plans are a valuable addition for some people to access mental health services and support. However,

  • You can access quality mental health support without a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which means,

  • If you find yourself on a long waiting list for a psychologist or your school counsellor, consider whether your needs, or your child's fit into the support a counsellor is trained and qualified to provide, and,

  • Contact me if you would like to know more information

Phone or Text: 0468 853 749



Are you a GP, Psychologist, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist, School Counsellor or School Wellbeing Officer in the Macarthur area?

I invite you to contact me to find out more about how we can support our community together.

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