Why choose a Clinical Psychologist?
Dr. Laetitia Livesey, Psychologist in Kent, explains the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor.
There are a variety of professions that provide therapy or counselling, and it can be incredibly difficult to understand the difference and identify which profession may be right for you.
Unlike a counsellor or psychotherapist, a Clinical Psychologist always have a minimum of an undergraduate and doctoral degree in psychology (six years of university study). They may also have a masters degree and other qualifications. Clinical Psychologists are "scientist-practitioners. They can therefore understand and interpret psychological theory and research in order to develop complex understandings of mental health difficulties and provide appropriate evidence-based therapy. Clinical Psychologists have training in several different therapies which enable them to be flexible about the techniques used and adapt to the needs of their clients. Clinical Psychologists usually have a background working in mental health services in the NHS and consequently are competent to work with more complex problems including clinical depression, psychosis and PTSD as well as problems such as stress and relationship difficulties. Clinical Psychologists are different from Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They provide diagnosis, medication and case management and do not usually provide therapy (although some are trained to do so). Psychologists do not usually use a medical model to understand difficulties and often take a broader "biopsychosocial" focus.
Please be aware that not all providers are regulated so do ensure that you check that any therapist is registered with a professional body or regulator such as the HCPC, BABCP or has a professional title such as Practitioner Psychologist or Psychiatrist. There is a wide range in the complexity and length of training in different therapeutic professions, so if in doubt, ask your therapist what their training involved.