What Is The Difference Between The Various Types Of Mental Health Therapists?
There is considerable confusion in the public’s mind about the similarities and differences between Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Registered Counselling Therapists (RCTs), and other Counsellors/Therapists. The short answer is that: 1) as a discipline Psychiatrists tend to be medication based, and do not routinely do talk therapy; they are medical doctors first who then went on to specialize in psychiatry, 2) Psychologists tend to be more about standardized testing, assessment and diagnosis - most useful when you need a report for court or to gain access to services in the educational system, and many psychologists do not actually do any treatment beyond providing an assessment report, 3) Social Workers tend to be about societal change, child protection, and income assistance, but mater’s level (MSW) social workers may have additional training in talk therapy - or may not - they may have got their MSW degree in administration or some other topic, while 4) Registered Counselling Therapists (RCT’s) are primarily trained to do talk therapy, their focus is on helping develop therapeutic change in individuals, groups, families and couples 5) Other Counsellors/Therapists are generally trained to provide talk therapy and may or may not have additional education in specific areas of concentration related to psychotherapy. It is true however that there is a great deal of overlap between the various disciplines. Select practitioners in each discipline may have gone on for additional training and become highly skilled talk therapists (sometimes called psychotherapists) and all of the above identified groups have a foundation in scholarship and research - often referring to research and theories developed in one or more of the other disciplines to inform their talk therapy practice within their own discipline.