Psychotherapist, counsellor, psychologist, coach – who’s going to help you

21. HealthyChat12


You’re not going to need to know whether to do a search for ‘psychotherapist Aberdeen’, ‘counsellor Aberdeen’ or ‘life coach Aberdeen’ unless you’re in the difficult position of having an emotional or mental health challenge or (less difficult) living in or around the Aberdeenshire area. But how do you know who to search for? What’s the difference to you in engaging a psychotherapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist – it’s important that you know!


There’s no doubt about the fact that the choices involved in successfully navigating 60-100 years of a lifetime have increase. With the increase in choices comes an exponential increase in the complexity of finding a mix that works exactly right for you. Most people – from teenage years to retirement – will at some point find that range of decisions overwhelming, to a point where they require professional help to guide and to simplify.


So which professionals know what about what? And who’s going to make the difference to your specific situation right now? Here’s a simple guide:



This title can usually be inter-changed with therapist or with counsellor. It’s often used to intimate a longer term, or wider range of therapeutic study – however you can’t immediately assume that that makes a psychotherapist a better choice for your support and recovery process. There are different styles of therapeutic conversation offered by psychotherapists, therapists and counsellors and the best way to find out who’s best for you to work with is: read their website, look at their testimonials and, most importantly, talk to the therapist before you decide whether to work with him/her. You’ll get a sense very quickly about whether you have a shared chemistry, and they have the skills, that are going to help you to your chosen outcome. Trust your instinct.


As a general rule you could search for a psychotherapist to help with: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelm, post traumatic stress, an eating disorder, addiction or a phobia



See above. Also, it’s important not to assume a counsellor is less skilled than a psychotherapist. Some highly skilled therapists choose to call themselves counsellors because it has a more approachable sound. Some counsellors are extraordinarily skilled, intuitive and experienced. Again, contact the professional who’s site or profile reads well to you and have a first conversation about the outcomes you’d like to see from working with them.


Search for a counsellor to equip you with: strong relationships, successful marriage, quality parenting, healthy divorce, career change, wholesome bereavement and balanced retirement


Life Coach

There are again huge crossovers in the skills a life coach is equipped with when compared to therapists. The angle from a coach is often said to me more future and solutions focussed than with therapy which has a present and issues slant. However, a modern, up-to-date therapy, like Human Givens Psychotherapy, is as fast, effective and uplifting a conversation as you’ll get with most good life coaches.


Search for a life coach to: show up in a bigger way at work and in relationships, address limiting beliefs around your skills and abilities, add meaning to ambition.



A psychologist has a psychology degree at bachelors, masters or doctorate level. They are social scientists trained to study human behaviour and mental processes. They are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of psychologist will go on to work with patients/clients. Some will continue in research and some into education, mental health and occupational psychology.



Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialised in the study of mental disorders and their diagnosis, management and prevention. They may be additionally trained in psychotherapy (although that’s not yet commonplace) and they can prescribe medication to treat symptoms, which a therapist, counsellor or psychologist can’t.


So whoever you choose should you be in the north of Scotland – psychotherapist, counsellor or life coach – the encouraging point to take from this is that although there are more life choices (a good thing) creating more diverse individuals (another good thing), should you find that all a bit overwhelming at any point, there are also more professional navigators to help you get clear and move forward with simplicity.




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