Counsellor? Psychologist? Psychiatrist? Who should I see? 

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Have you ever wondered if you should see a counsellor, psychologist or a psychiatrist? These days there are a variety of different professions, all of which vary and it can get confusing for individuals that want or need to seek help.

Counselors: Counsellors are mental health professionals with a specified skill set who provide short-term care. Usually, they will have an undergraduate or masters level specialty in psychology. Counsellors help people in need identify triggering issues and encourage positive steps in life to resolve these short-term issues. Attending counseling and seeing a counsellor is a relatively short term processes.

Psychologist: Psychologists are more specialised than counsellors in that more required education is needed, specifically doctoral level training. They help individuals who have had a host of emotional problems that have built upper time – such as depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy is a longer term process and treatment is designed to identify emotional issues that exist in the background of a person’s life.

Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are trained, medical doctors. After they have finished medical school, they complete their residency in psychiatry for roughly four years. For this reason, psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication to patients, and psychologists are not. Psychologists and psychiatrists work in tandem to provide relief to an individual through psychotherapy (psychologist) and medicine (psychiatry).

In essence, if you or someone you know is going through temporary and relatively short-term struggles, a counsellor may be the best point of contact as there are smaller waiting lists and typically, no GP or doctor referral needed. If the problem has been persistent and ongoing, with major life and behavioural disruptions, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be a better point of contact.

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