Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Psychologist and Counselor

Psychologist VS Counselor

When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. When something goes wrong with your body like a broken arm or you feel a pain that does not go away, you go to a doctor. When you are mentally or emotionally troubled, you go to a mental health professional.

Mental health professionals talk to patients in order to help them solve their emotional and mental problems. They are on hand to help people cope and feel better. The most common mental health professional that people usually go to first when they encounter emotional problems is a counselor.

If after discussing the patient’s issues the problems are still there, the patient is then referred to a psychologist who can make a diagnosis for what the patient is actually going through. A psychologist is defined as a person who is trained and educated to perform psychological research, testing, and therapy. Aside from completing a four-year course in psychology, he must have to get specialized training in clinical psychology and finish a Master’s degree in psychology. He must also get a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), or Doctor of Education (EdD) degree. After this he can register as a psychologist and treat patients, but he is not allowed to prescribe medications.

If a patient needs medication, he is referred to a psychiatrist or an M.D. Psychologists are only licensed to look into a patient’s behavioral and mental problems and treat him through therapy. He might ask about the patient’s history and look into his problems, his feelings, and behavior.

A counselor, on the other hand, is defined as a person who gives counsel or advice. Although no degree or specialization is needed to become one, in order to become credible, one must have at least two to three years of study and undergo training in this field.

While a psychologist directs the treatment of patients, counselors tend to let the patients themselves direct their own treatment. This way the patient will be able to recognize his problems on his own, see their causes, and be able to help find ways to solve and overcome them. Anyone can become a counselor even without training or a license as long as he has ample experience with handling people who are troubled.


1.A counselor is a person who gives counsel while a psychologist is a person who is a licensed therapist.
2.Anyone can become a counselor, but only those who have completed a four-year psychology course, a Master’s in clinical psychology, and a PhD, a PsyD, or an EdD can become a psychologist.
3.With a psychologist, he is usually the one who directs the therapy session while with a counselor it is usually encouraged that the patient direct the session.
4.Both the psychologist and the counselor cannot prescribe medications to patients, but a psychologist can give a diagnosis of a patient’s problems while a counselor must refer a patient to a psychologist for proper diagnosis.

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  1. This information is egregiously in error. It is completely false that “anyone can become a counselor” and that no degree is needed to become one! (Who wrote this nonsense?)

    Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors must earn a Masters degree in counseling, pass a national licensing exam and state law test and complete 3000 hours of supervised counseling in order to be licensed (this information is based on the State of Maryland requirements, but there are similar requirements in all states.)

    Professional Counselors are licensed professionals who perform the same function as a psychologists in regard to therapy. The approach to therapy is not profession-specific, but rather the choice of the therapist based on their own training, interest and style.

    Professional Counselors CAN diagnose and do not need to refer clients to a psychologist for diagnosis.

  2. This information is so wrong it should be removed. Every state in the united states Licenses counselors and most have stringent requirements and that usually requires a masters degree in counseling psychology or social work. Counselors do diagnose and do direct treatment. That there is a difference in terminology/designation between counselors and psychologists is actually a political decision created by the APA. The terms as they are currently used refer to the difference between a Masters degree qualification and a PHD qualification with the term Psychologist being a protected title having little to really do with the actual abilities of the person carrying the title.

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