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Counsellor? Psychotherapist? Psychiatrist?...

Who's who in mental health

There are a lot of different mental health professionals in the UK. This article wants to make a bit of clarity, explaining who’s who.

Psychologist / Counselling Psychologist
This person has a degree, a PhD or a doctorate in psychology - They are trained to deliver talking therapy or to perform academic research (depending on their degree). They can also perform psychometric tests and work using protocols.
In the UK, the main awarding body for psychology is the
BPS - British Psychological Society

Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Both a counsellor and a psychotherapist performs talking therapy. Their training and qualification can vary from a minimum of 2 year for a diploma in counselling, to a master degree for psychotherapy. In the UK, PhD and research programmes are also available for counsellors and psychotherapists. There are different ways of working in this field and different schools of thought, mainly: Psychoanalysis, Humanistic and Existential and behavioural therapies.

The main awarding bodies are:
BACP - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

UKCP - UK Council for Psychotherapy


The psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who can prescribe psychotropic medications. They mostly work in medical settings and are in charge of medication management.

All psychiatrists in the UK are registered with the RCPsych - Royal College of Psychiatrists