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Difference Between Counselling and Psychology

Counsellor vs psychologist? If you're interesting in studying psychology or counselling, or just want see a therapist, please read this important information first.

Counselling or therapy session between man and woman

Key Takeaways

  • Psychologists diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Counsellors focus on talk therapy for everyday problems.
  • Psychologists have at least six years of study. Counsellors just need a diploma or degree with practical training.
  • Psychologists handle severe issues. Counsellors address mild to moderate issues like stress and relationships.
  • Psychologists typically earn more due to their advanced education. Counsellors earn less but find their careers rewarding.
  • Psychologists work in hospitals and private practices. Counsellors work in community settings, schools, and non-profits.


Counsellors and psychologists both offer one-to-one therapy. A core difference is that psychology training allows you to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. In counselling, the focus is on talk therapy to help people solve life problems.

Counselling courses provide practical training to effectively listen and respond to clients. The curriculum cultivates empathy and positive regard, also known as the micro skills of the profession. Students acquire listening skills that are essential to becoming a counsellor.

Studying psychology, on the other hand, covers a broader range of assessment and diagnosis theory, while also teaching counselling skills. There is more emphasis on learning advanced therapeutic methods, as psychologists often tackle serious mental health problems.

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