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The Difference Between a Psychologist and a Counselor: Who Can Diagnose You?

The difference between a psychologist vs a counselor is that a psychologist can diagnose mental illnesses, while a counselor may be able to diagnose some illnesses (it depends on the scope of their practice and education level they have attained) and can provide talk therapy to help you cope. If you’re looking to find out what mental illness you have, consider going to a licensed psychologist who has been to graduate school and has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology or something in the psychological field. If you’re looking for a therapist you can talk to once a week or regularly, a counselor is a good choice.

Why a psychologist?

If you’re coping with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, depression, or any other mental health condition, going to a psychologist makes sense because they have hands-on experience treating mental illness. You’re in good hands, and you’re seeing someone that can help you develop coping skills to manage a condition like anxiety, or something else, such as anger issues. Psychologists have sometimes researched mental illnesses and may have worked at hospitals or places where they’ve interacted with patients who have suffered from different kinds of mental health condition, so you don’t have to worry about being too “weird” because they’ve seen it all. If you’re wondering what’s happening and why it’s hard to function, a psychologist can help. You can speculate as to what you might have, but it’s not going to be an accurate diagnosis. It can be overwhelming to discover what your diagnosis is, but if you go to a psychologist and describe your symptoms, they’ll help you figure it out and learn to manage the condition. 

Why would you see a counselor?  

Asking “Why would you see a counselor?” is like asking “Why would you go to therapy?” Seeing a counselor can help you learn to cope with everyday issues that come up. You don’t need to ask why to go to therapy, because therapy is a great place to discuss any mental health or general life issues that you might have. You don’t even necessarily need to have a mental health diagnosis or be struggling to the point where it’s difficult to function to attend therapy; it can help you with everyday life concerns such as conflict with friends and family. A counselor is an impartial person who can help you see both sides of a conflict and figure out a solution. Therapy is an excellent place to explore these issues. Counseling can help with so many different problems, and you can learn about your past trauma and work through it. You can figure out how to manage depression, work through issues with your partner or talk through a difficult transition such as a divorce. Counseling is a great place to talk through problems you’re having in life. You don’t have to suffer through life alone. A counselor cares about your mental health and can help you learn and maintain balance.

Online counseling 

You might choose to see a therapist in your neighborhood, or you might want to try online counseling for mental health concerns. Either option is a viable one, and you’ll figure out what works best for you. Online counseling could work for you if you’ve got a busy schedule and want to see a counselor in the comfort of your home or a place you feel safe. Online counseling is an excellent place to pursue treatment with either a psychologist or a counselor. Consider exploring online therapy because it’s incredibly convenient. You can access it from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Regardless of how you receive mental health treatment, if you’re suffering, make sure you seek help. Your mental health matters. 

Getty photo by lorenzoantonucci

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