Different types of therapists
There are different branches of therapists, these include counsellors, psychotherapists, counselling psychologists and psychiatrists. There is some confusion surrounding each one of these, which may appear to be the same however they do have their differences. This page will explore these in more detail. Many people aren’t aware that the only protected titles here are psychologists and psychiatrists, it’s essential for anyone looking for therapy to check that the person you’re looking to work with is qualified and insured enabling you to work with someone who’s aware of what they’re doing. In the UK, anyone can call themselves a counsellor or psychotherapists without qualification or experience, if you’re unlucky enough to work with someone who isn’t qualified, this can and most inevitably lead to psychological damage.
Counsellors broadly speaking tend to work on the most immediate issues and provide you with insight and support to help you resolve this issue. Counsellors with appropriate experiences can provide psychotherapy (detailed below) and work with deep-rooted issues, that unconsciously may be affecting you. Integrative counsellors as with any other integrative therapists can use a variety of different approaches and methods to help you work out why you feel/think the way you do, how this may be working for you, support you through implementing changes and much more.
Psychotherapists work on immediate issues as well however they usually work on a deeper level to work out the structures you’re accustomed to, these can be cycles you’re in, issues with familiarity, past traumas affecting you now, unconscious behaviours which may be driving how you feel or act. Integrative psychotherapists will use a variety of different approaches or methods to support you through addressing your issues, they may even psycho-educate you about how the issues working unconsciously to help you understand yourself better and why things happen in your mind the way they do.
Counselling psychologists have training in understanding how the human mind works, why people behave and interact in a particular way, this training covers day to day activities such as how we learn and recall information as well as deep-rooted issues. Psychologists must have a degree in psychology and a doctorate in counselling psychologist, they integrate psychology with applied research and theories. Psychologists have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is a legal requirement. This title is protected by law and you can only call yourself a counselling psychologist once you’re qualified.
All therapists should work to create a safe environment for clients, a place where you can be open, honest and feel emotionally safe to talk through what you’re going through without fear of judgement, without fear of criticism or any form of negativity. The therapist will be there to support you through your pain, through your past, through the changes and your vulnerability allowing you to have a safe relationship where you can be you.
The main difference between counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists is the training they receive, counsellors tend to have training for 2 years whereas psychotherapists tend to train for 5 years and psychologists for 8 years+. Therapists tend to undertake further training after they’re qualified to keep up to date with new methods, approaches and to ensure they’re working in the best way possible.