Q. What’s the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist and a counsellor?
A. Psychologists have a minimum of four years of psychological training at a university and often an additional two years of post-graduate studies. Their studies focus on the relationship between thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Psychiatrists start with a general medical degree of seven years and further specialize three more years in mental health. A psychiatrist can prescribe (psychotropic) medication whereas psychologists do not.
There is no restriction for people calling themselves counsellors or psychotherapists. Training courses in counselling and psychotherapy are often much shorter and not necessarily university based. Counsellors and psychotherapists are not required by law to be registered and therefore cannot be held accountable for malpractices etc.
Q. What does MAPS mean?
A. “Member of the Australian Psychological Society” which means that the psychologist has undergone six year university training with additional supervision. MAPS Psychologists are also required to undergo regular professional development in the form of attending seminars, workshops and conferences. Psychologists with specialist’s titles such as Clinical, Forensic or Educational have done specific studies and training in their area and also need to attend additional professional education in their specialty.
Q. How long will the psychological treatment take?
A. The duration of treatment varies. Short term interventions are usually sufficient for acute, minor or less serious problems and difficulties. It also depends on the duration of the problem and how long you have been effected by the emotional problems.