Psychotherapist. Counsellor. Social Worker. Psychologist. Psychiatrist. Huh? 

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Counsellor. Psychotherapist. Social Worker. Psychologist. Psychiatrist. Huh?

When looking for help, there is a lot of jargon to sift through. It’s absolutely normal to have questions such as, “what could possibly be the difference between these titles?” or “what the heck is it that you do… exactly?”.

To help, let’s break down the titles a little:

Psychiatrists are medical doctors and generally (but not always) focus on prescribing medications for mental health concerns.

Psychologists more commonly offer psychotherapy (talk therapy) but also have the ability to make formal diagnoses. These practitioners also have a clinical PhD. That can mean that many of them specialize in more complex treatment and many are a little more expensive. That said, some insurance companies will also cover Psychologists (but not other practitioners). So, if you have insurance coverage for a Psychologist or if you need a formal diagnosis, this is the practitioner to see.

Psychotherapists specialize in psychotherapy, which is a form of talk therapy that helps increase your self-awareness; see patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour that affect you; and often explores the way that these patterns and/or your past influence who you are today. The intention of this process is to help you develop enough insight about yourself that you are empowered to change, allowing many people to heal mentally, emotionally, socially, and sometimes even physically. There are often two types of psychotherapist available - social workers (those who have a Master of Social Work and are generally listed as MSWs) or those who practice in counselling psychology (who generally have an MA/MEd and have the designation of Registered Psychotherapist/RP and Canadian Certified Counsellor), but both offer similar services if they are delivering psychotherapy. They are also less expensive than Psychologists and offer similar services and results, particularly for the “average” client. They cannot offer a diagnosis, but will help you understand your symptoms and reduce, eliminate, or manage symptoms. Common concerns include: anxiety disorders (i.e., generalized anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, panic), depression and or mood disorders (i.e., dysthemia, bipolar disorders, etc.), eating disorders, addiction/substance use issues, trauma (developmental trauma or incident-based trauma), personality disorders, etc.

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Counsellors work in a similar way to psychotherapists, but focuses more on building skills (i.e., life skills, relationship skills, decision-making skills, etc.) and coping strategies (i.e., emotion regulation, stress management, etc.). Common issues include: work/career challenges, relationship challenges, work-life balance, stress management, perfectionism, low self-esteem, loss, etc.

As a Registered Psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor, I deliver both counselling and psychotherapy. If either sounds like something you might be interested in, text or call me for an initial conversation: 647-880-7118.