Difference Between Psychologist and Counselor -

Psychologist vs Counselor

Psychologist and Counselor are specialists who help people to get relieved from or reduce their mental problems. If you have a broken arm or a running nose, you go to a doctor to get treatment. But there are problems that are not visible yet require treatment. These are problems related with emotions, stress, or feelings that interfere with daily live of the person and cause trouble in his adjustment with others. The specialists who treat these problems are also doctors though they are called differently depending upon their qualification. Some of these specialists who have attended a school dedicated to provide training in ways people think and react and also how to help them cope better in life are called psychologists and counselors. There can be many reasons as to why a person seeks help of a psychologist or a counselor but the core desire is to feel better. If you are a person suffering from some emotional or mental problem, you may be confused with the difference between a psychologist and a counselor. This article intends to help you understand their specialties so that you can decide in a better way whose help and assistance you require in case you are suffering from any emotional problem.


Psychologist is a person who has completed 4 year degree course in psychology and then specialized in clinical psychology for a period of another three years to complete his master’s degree. In addition he has to undergo supervised training for another two years. After completing all these courses, the person becomes eligible to register as a clinical psychologist. A psychologist has been trained to look at behavioral aspects of mental problems rather than looking at biomechanical perspective. He is more likely to ask the patient about his past and present behavior, his feelings and his problems to arrive at the root cause. Psychologists have a better understanding and awareness of behavioral reasons of mental problems than others and they make treatment sessions according to the problem. Thus they adopt a personalized approach suiting the patient. A psychologist is not authorized to prescribe any medication to his patients.


One does not need any degree or specialization to start practicing as a counselor. However, to command respect from patients and also for better experience, any person who wishes to make it a profession needs to undergo 2-3 years of study in this field and then undergo supervised training to become a counselor.

Instead of the behavioral approach adopted by psychologists, a counselor tries to encourage the patient to direct the treatment session. He tries to make the patient come out as much as possible and listens and reflects, while challenging some of the statements made by the patient. He creates an environment where the patient is able to clearly see through his own problems and the reasons underlying these problems. Thus, without relying upon anybody else, the patient is able to overcome his problems.

In a broader sense, both psychologists and counselors are specialists who try to solve mental problems of people though adopting different approaches.

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