A psychologist is trained to help people cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems – anything from depression to anxiety to learning disorders. All psychologists are trained to a minimum of Master’s level and most clinical psychologists will have a PhD, which means that they have completed a research thesis in their chosen area of speciality.
Psychologists use various methods including psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), mindfulness and psychodynamic therapy, and can work with individuals, couples, families or other groups. They are also trained to administer and interpret tests and assessments, such as intellectual and cognitive functioning, which screen for concerns like ADHD, ASD or dyslexia.
The main difference between counselling and clinical psychology is their perspective and training. Counselling psychologists focus more on the individual who is experiencing mild to moderate levels of distress in their social, occupational, or academic functioning. While a clinical psychologist can work with similar populations and also more serious presentations such as psychosis, major depression, and personality disorders to name a few.
A psychiatrist is a physician who has completed a speciality in psychiatry following their training as a doctor. Psychiatrists will evaluate medical and psychological data to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan and suitability for medication. Psychiatrists will prescribe medication to help restore imbalances in body chemistry that are often a large part of mental illnesses. They will use medication and psychotherapy to treat anyone suffering from a short or long-term mental health problem.
Personal coaches can be qualified psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors. Coaching is often for those individuals who are already succeeding and want to succeed further.
Psychologists often work to a prescribed method and follow a particular clinical model; alternatively, coaching has few tangible rules and is more focused on empowering functional individuals.