The different types of mental health professionals

Everyone has different needs when it comes to their mental health. Depending on these needs, there are a number of different types of mental health professional available to help.

 
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What's the difference?

What's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? Are psychologists and psychotherapists the same?

All of the different titles can be confusing and it can be difficult to know what the differences between professionals are. When you don’t know the differences between them, it can be hard to know which type of mental health professional will best suit your needs. 

We have put together a brief guide to help outline the different types of professionals and what their roles are.

Click below to find out more about the different types of mental health professionals

 

General Practitioner

A medical doctor who is a generalist. GPs are often the first point of contact for people experiencing distress or difficulties in functioning. They can provide onward referrals for individuals experiencing mental health concerns and, in some cases, may prescribe medication for mental health difficulties such as depression or anxiety.

Psychiatrist

A medical doctor specialising in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and study of mental health difficulties. Psychiatrists will prescribe medications in the treatment they provide, with some being trained in and providing psychotherapy or counselling as well.

Psychologist

A mental health professional who is trained to a postgraduate level (master’s or doctorate) and specialises in the assessment, treatment, and study of psychological processes related to mental health. A psychologist is trained to engage with a wide variety of difficulties that an individual may be experiencing and is skilled in a variety of methods of intervention and assessment.

Psychotherapist/Counsellor

A psychotherapist is mental health professional trained to either an undergraduate or postgraduate level in using talk therapy as an approach to mental health difficulties. Psychotherapists will generally focus on assisting the client with overcoming specific difficulties and problems they are experiencing. The terms psychotherapist and counsellor are often used interchangeably though there are subtle differences in the approaches used, which you can read about on our Therapy Services page.

Social Worker

Social workers possess an undergraduate (and sometimes a postgraduate) degree in social work and engage with individuals and families to enhance the individual and/or family’s social functioning and overall well-being. Social workers are often highly generalist in their approach and will work to connect people with services and support to assist them in times of difficulty.

Mental Health Nurse

A medical professional who is a qualified nurse and specialises in the treatment of individuals experiencing psychological distress and/or difficulties in functioning. Mental Health Nurses will often have some training in psychotherapeutic intervention and use of supportive counselling techniques, as well as administering medication that has been prescribed by a psychiatrist.

 
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