What Is The Difference Between a Counselor And a Psychologist?

Psychology vs Counseling

Counselors and psychologists are both mental health practitioners and both fields require individuals practicing to be state licensed. Their services are reimbursable by insurance companies. In fact, they have overlapping duties at times, but there are some differences, both in their scope of practice and their training.


  • They lack the in-depth understanding offered by the clinical research found in psychology.
  • They have access to a significantly wider field of potential models for counseling
  • They do not need the same degree of licensure or advanced training in order to operate
  • They work hand-in-hand with their patients to identify the ideal way forward for the counseling sessions underway to give the best outcomes
The term ‘counselor’ is sometimes used for individuals offering other forms of counseling and licensed clinicians who hold advanced degrees. The term can include a licensed counselor, is the equivalent of advisor, and can include diverse groups including spiritual and financial advisors. However, some gifted individuals can achieve excellent results, have high levels of confidentiality, excellent ethical standards and professionalism, a lack of licensing has created fewer limits to entry for the less fastidious. It may be cheaper to see a counselor who is not licensed but it is advisable to research on the counselor extensively before sharing intimate details of your life with them.


  • They make their judgments on the best course of treatments depending on current clinical research in the field.
  • They assess and make their clinical evaluations of their clients’ mental health and they diagnose mental illnesses.
  • They use research-based psychological behavioral approaches in treating their clients
  • They may be part of or lead a team conducting research for a private enterprise or a university.
  • They may teach at a university or college
  • They can be included in direct therapy with patients if they have a private practice
  • They are required to conform to steep standards concerning confidentiality and ethics that are administered by their respective state board
  • In most cases, the term only refers those who are licensed by a state board to offer psychological therapy
  • They usually require a minimum of a Master’s in Psychology to get this title. A Bachelor’s degree holders in most cases might also be included.
Psychologists are health professionals equipped with training established on clinical psychological research, particularly into human behavior. The study of Psychology involves a deeper look at human beings’ mental processes and it has come up with quite a number of effective methods of handling mental illnesses. The field of Psychology has also created strict confidentiality and ethics codes that all relevant practitioners should adhere to so they can maintain their board-certified status. They must all regularly keep learning in order to maintain licensure and stay updated on various topics. During their education, they undergo meticulous training and supervised practice for thousands of hours as a requirement so they can get a license and practice.

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TJ is a managing partner of USA-LEADS. USA-LEADS creates comprehensive and informative websites for individuals looking for educational information about the requirements and certifications needed in a given field. He has been in the digital space since 2009 and quickly went from having ZERO knowledge of all things internet to becoming the Director of Web Services at a custom software development company. Prior to entering the space he taught children with learning differences for 9 years.