Counsellor, Psychotherapist or Psychologist; what’s the difference & what do I need?

Psychotherapy is a term that covers all talking therapies and the many associated approaches/methods. The titles psychotherapist and counsellor are often used interchangeably. A Counsellor will utilise psychotherapy to help clients going through mental health difficulties. Some experts believe that psychotherapists work on longer-term concerns and have the training to reflect this. Others argue that there is little to no distinction between the professions. Many counsellors now undergo similar extensive training as psychotherapists.

Psychology is effectively the study of the way people think, behave and interact. Looking at the way the mind works, it also covers more complex mental health conditions. Psychologists are normally described as being ‘applied’ or ‘research-oriented’. Those who are ‘applied’ treat patients therapeutically and include (the protected titles) Clinical Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist & Practitioner Psychologist.

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has decided to specialise in psychiatry. This includes diagnosis, management and prevention. Psychiatry is a medical specialty and it takes 11 years to fully qualify. You may get referred to a psychiatrist for a ‘diagnosis’, or if your mental health problems are severe. To see one privately will be expensive, especially in regular treatment! Some experts believe some psychiatrists may over-rely on prescription drug treatment, at the expense of therapeutic ‘talk therapy’ interventions.

A counsellor, psychotherapist or clinical/counselling/practitioner psychologist should ALL be able to help you. What’s most important is that you feel comfortable talking to your therapist, the type/s of talk-therapy they have specialised in and also their training level!

Types or talking therapy:

Cognitive and behavioural therapies

Behavioural therapies are based on the way you think (cognitive) and/or the way you behave. These therapies recognise that it is possible to change, or recondition, our thoughts or behaviour to overcome specific problems. CBT & mindfullness techniques can also be learnt via books, CD or online software; and implemented without a therapist present.

• Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
• Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Mindfullness (MBCT) & mindfullnesss based stress reduction (MBSR)

CBT software-Beating the Blues

Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies

Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies are based on an individual’s unconscious thoughts and perceptions that have developed throughout their childhood (& life events), and how these affect their current behaviour and thoughts.

• Jungian therapy
• Psychoanalysis
• Psychodynamic therapy

Humanistic therapies

Humanistic therapies focus on self-development, growth and responsibilities. They seek to help individuals recognise their strengths, creativity and choice in the ‘here and now’, and often that the answers to a client’s issues lie within themselves.

• Gestalt therapy
• Human Givens psychotherapy
• Person-centred therapy (also known as “client-centred” counselling)
• Psychosynthesis
• Transactional analysis
• Transpersonal psychology

For more information on the above therapy types, click here…

Find a Therapist via the BACP link

Other useful Talk-therapies Kipp endorses:

Trauma Healing (Somatic Experiencing)
The Lightening Process
Reverse Therapy
Neuro Linguistic Programming
• Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
• Integrative
• Interpersonal therapy
More information on the above therapy’s

Alton Advanced Bodywork is Kipp Clark; an Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist and specialist in Chronic Pain Treatment who treats clients in Alton, Fleet, Hampshire and Surrey.

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