Psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor…what’s the difference???

Psychologist

  • AKA “Registered Psychologist
  • Training:
    • university undergraduate degree
    • university graduate school (usually a Master’s degree followed by a PhD or “doctorate”), followed by a one year internship.
    • trained in research and talk therapy.
  • They DO NOT usually prescribe medication
  • They Do talk therapy
  • They are Registered Health Care Professionals in BC
  • Regulated by the College of Psychologists of BC who manage complaints
  • Not usually covered by BC Medical Services Plan
  • Often covered by Extended Health

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Psychiatrist

  • AKA “Physician
  • Training
    • university undergraduate degree
    • medical school, followed by a five year mental health residency.
    • trained in medication and talk therapy.
  • DO prescribe medication
  • Some do talk therapy
  • They are Registered Health Care Professionals in BC
  • Regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC who manage complaints
  • Often covered by BC Medical Services plan
  • NOT usually covered by Extended Health

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Click here to to LEARN MORE about BC’s Regulated Health Professions
Click here to see a LIST of BC’s Regulated Health Care Professions

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Counsellor (RCC)

  • AKA “Registered Clinical Counsellor” or “RCC”
  • Training
    • university undergraduate degree
    • university graduate school (usually a Master’s degree ), followed by 100 hours of supervised practice.
    • trained in talk therapy and some research courses
  • They DO NOT prescribe medication
  • They do talk therapy
  • They are NOT Registered Health Care Professionals in BC
  • They are NOT formally ‘regulated’, but those using the term have joined an association called the BC Association of Clinical Counselors This group checks credentials and provides a platform to take and investigate complaints.
  • NOT covered by BC Medical Services plan
  • Sometimes covered by Extended Health

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Counselor, therapist, life coach, etc…

  • In BC, anyone can use these terms to describe their services. Some may be skilled at their craft and some may not. Some have joined an association and some have not.
  • Training
    • Variable
  • They DO NOT prescribe medication
  • They do talk therapy
  • They are NOT Registered Health Care Professionals in BC
  • They are NOT formally ‘regulated’
  • NOT covered by BC Medical Services plan
  • NOT usually covered by Extended Health

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