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Are you looking for a Gold Coast Counsellor or a Gold Coast Psychologist? If you’re new to therapy, it can be a tricky question to answer. Whether you’re living with anxiety, depression, stress, or have decided that you could use some extra help to reach your goals for life; a psychologist or counsellor can help. In this article, we help you decide whether you should see a psychologist or counsellor on the Gold Coast. 

Psychologist or counsellor: What’s the difference? 

Psychologists and counsellors are both therapists who aim to improve your life by helping you to overcome things that are troubling you or keeping you from reaching your goals. However, there are important differences between psychologists and counsellors. For example, according to Australian regulations, a psychologist is a trained and qualified professional who is registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). They also have to adhere to certain regulations and practices under AHPRA. You can find out more about those here: https://psychology.org.au/training-and-careers/careers-and-studying-psychology/registering-psychologist

Psychologists can assist with a wide range of psychological, emotional and behavioural issues, and they are also qualified to help you with debilitating symptoms such as:  

  • Phobias
  • Anxiety & Panic Attacks
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Low self-worth

In Australia, counsellors do not need to be formally trained or qualified. This means that just about anyone can call themselves a counsellor. Whilst there are of course some credible counselling courses, and there are some great counsellors out there, doing their best to help their clients, it is important to have a clear picture of their experience and any qualifications they might have, to help you make the right choice. Counsellors can help you with things like: 

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of confidence 
  • Communication skills 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Managing conflict 
  • Life coaching 
  • Goal-setting 

Here’s a great way to sum up the difference when choosing to see a psychologist or counsellor on the Gold Coast: 

“A psychologist is someone who specializes in the study of mind and behaviour, and in the treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders while a counsellor is someone who is trained to give guidance on personal or psychological problems.”

To see a psychologist or counsellor: Which is right for you? 

If you’ve seen your GP about a mental health concern, they may refer you to a psychologist for more specialised help. They might also suggest seeing a counsellor, and ask you to do some research to find your own. Unfortunately, no one can decide whether seeing a psychologist or counsellor is best for you. It comes down to your personal challenges, needs and preferences. But here are a few tips to help you understand which might be the most appropriate for you: 

Serious mental health concerns: If you’re suffering from severe depression or anxiety, or any other mental health concern that is really impacting the quality of your life, you should immediately seek out a trained professional. A psychologist is not only trained and qualified to identify these types of mental health concerns, but they will also have strategies in place to keep you safe and if necessary, refer you for emergency assistance. While a counsellor can also be a great help, they are not necessarily qualified or experienced in working with people experiencing severe and life-threatening mental health concerns. Putting your trust in a registered professional is the safest option. 

Managing your ongoing mental health: Whether you feel you’ve currently got your mental health under control, or you’re interested in maintaining your ongoing mental health, then you should also consider seeing a psychologist rather than a counsellor. A trained professional who specialises in the study of the mind and human behaviour is in a better position to recognise problematic or telltale signs of worsening mental health. They can help you with evidence-based strategies for keeping your mental health in check and can help you to spot anything of concern before it becomes unmanageable. Once again, a counsellor can be really helpful, too. But a certain degree of training and experience is the most appropriate solution in this case. 

Wanting some guidance: If you’re seeking some guidance in life, a counsellor can be a wonderful help. From helping you to understand your low motivation, to building your self-confidence, to improve your communication skills, a counsellor can offer you some excellent guidance, help you set goals, and give you strategies to achieve them. Choose a counsellor that has experience in the kinds of guidanceWhat about the best of both worlds? you’re looking for. 

Specialised therapies: Whether you see a psychologist or counsellor, they will have their own unique set of therapeutic techniques and approaches. When searching for your therapist, consider the range of therapies that they offer, and whether trying something like one of these could be for you (click each of the links to find out more): 

What about the best of both worlds?

When you get onto Google and search for either ‘Gold Coast Psychologist’ or ‘Gold Coast Counsellor’, you’ll be inundated with results. But you may still be struggling to understand the difference and know whether you should see a psychologist or counsellor for help. Thankfully, there is an answer that gives you the best of both worlds. 

At Integrated Health Specialists, Michelle van Namen is both a trained and qualified psychologist as well as a counsellor and life coach. That means, no matter what you’re struggling with, she can bring you the solution most suited to you. Michelle has spent many years studying the mind and human behaviour and understands the complex nature of mental health. She’s also a dedicated counsellor, focused on person-centered solutions that put you at the heart of your journey to better mental health and happiness. 

In fact, we recently wrote a blog article about Michelle, her wealth of experience, and the personal experiences that led her to study and enter the psychology and counselling field. You can read all about Michelle, in our article, The Gold Coast Psychologist With a Difference

When it comes to deciding whether to see a psychologist or counsellor, have a think about your needs and what a therapist can offer you. At Integrated Health Specialists, we offer the best of both counselling and psychology, as well as a range of other therapies, to give our clients the very best chance of success. For more information, reach out today, and let us tell you more about how we can help. 

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen