What is the difference between a Counsellor/Therapist, a Psychologist, a Psychiatrist, and a Life Coach?

The terms “Counsellor” or “Therapist” usually refer to a person who has a Master’s degree or higher and is registered with a provincial or national Counselling Association. Counsellors/therapists are able to collect the information needed to make recommendations for psychological diagnoses and medications; however they require a psychologist or medical doctor to confirm a diagnosis or prescribe medications. The counselling therapists at CHATT Inc. work with our supervising psychologists to ensure the highest standard of care and our counsellors are accountable to both their supervising psychologists and to either the College of Psychologists or the College of Social Workers.

A Psychologist holds a Doctorate degree in psychology and is registered with, and accountable to, a provincial College of Psychologists. A psychologist often performs all the functions of a Counsellor/Therapist but can also perform the protected act of communicating a diagnosis. Psychologists are not only involved in counselling but are often also very involved in research, assessments, publishing scholarly articles, teaching and supervising others in their field.

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor (OHIP based) who specializes in treating illnesses of the mind. Most psychiatrists work in hospital settings and often prescribe medications, whereas a psychologist or counsellor/therapist cannot prescribe medications. Psychiatrists are often, but not always, less involved with counselling therapy and more involved in assessments, report writing, diagnosing, prescribing, and sometimes research, publishing scholarly articles, teaching and supervising others.

A Life Coach may or may not have a certificate or diploma in Life Coaching. Life Coaches have varying credentials and varying levels of skill. They do not require any specialized training when they are non-certified. Therapists all perform the duties of a Life Coach, but also offer more comprehensive care for the whole person, including symptom and relationship management.


Category: Counselling, Therapists

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