What’s the difference between Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, and Psychotherapy?

A psychiatrist first trains and qualifies as a medical doctor and then does a further specialist training in psychiatry. This enables psychiatrists to prescribe medication for psychological problems, something that neither psychologists nor counselors/psychotherapists do.

Psychologists hold a degree in psychology. They are trained in the use of various tests (called psychometric tests) to help assess and diagnose psychological disorders, and they are also specifically trained in psychological research methods and statistical analyses. Certain psychologists specialise in working as therapists, but their training does not focus exclusively on the practise of therapy.

Counselors and Psychotherapists. In the UK, Counselors and Psychotherapists undergo a specialised training that focuses exclusively on working as a therapist. Generally a psychotherapy training takes 5-6 years, which is about two years longer than a counseling training.

Here In Italy, the situation is slightly different as psychotherapy is practiced by medical doctors or psychologists. Counseling has recently been recognised in the category of ‘Unregulated Professions’ under legislation number 4, 14 January 2013 (www.assocounseling.it/docs/leggi/L42013.pdf) and professional organisations such as AssoCounseling work to ensure that their members’ training and clinical practice adhere to their strict code of values, ethics and professional standards.

For an informal discussion or to make an appointment contact: Philip Georgiou on (+39) 349 149 3548.