Counsellors and psychologists are both licensed professionals who offer clients mental health support.
Counselling is typically concerned with immediate and practical issues such as processing grief or anger, helping the client identify options when making important personal or professional decisions, or building better interpersonal or communication skills.
Counsellors help patients who are struggling to cope with a specific problem or are having trouble in their everyday lives. A counsellor’s role is to guide a patient through their problems and help them understand how their behaviours and emotions have an effect on their outcomes. Counsellors often work with issues related to addiction, relationships, work-related concerns, grief, trauma and abuse.
A counsellor might work with a client to learn how to better manage conflicts in relationships or to clarify his or her values on a particular topic. Counselling is typically short-term. The focus in counselling is to the client’s concerns and difficulties as well as understanding how patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings can cause problems in daily life.
Psychologists have practical and research skills that may be applied in many fields, including health, education and management. They may work with both mentally ill and emotionally healthy clients who need help understanding behavioural problems. Psychotherapy is used in long-term treatment of mental illness and to help clients conduct an intensive and extensive examination of their psychological history. The goal of the psychotherapist in these cases is to free the client from unconscious triggers or impulses through increasing the client’s self-awareness and control.
Psychologists assist patients who are dealing with mostly complex mental health conditions. But as experts in human behaviour, they can also help mentally healthy people to improve in other areas of their lives. A psychologist is qualified to evaluate a patient’s mental health and through diagnostic or psychometric testing, administer therapeutic care and treatment. Psychologists can also work in an academic environment performing research in their area of specialty.