Difference Between
Counselling and Psychology 

Inner West Sydney NSW

What is a Counselling Psychologists?

Counselling Psychologists have advanced training in psychological assessment and therapy. We provide advanced psychology services. In Australia, we are registered psychologists with additional training. We are required to have six years of university training. This includes a postgraduate Masters Degree in psychology. We are also required to undergo two years of supervised practice following university training. In summary, we have at least eight years of training in psychology. We also recognise the number one predictor of client outcomes is therapeutic rapport, clear goals and evidence-based therapy.

What is the difference between a Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist?

We have exactly the same level of training as Clinical Psychologists. The primary difference in Australia is training for Counselling Psychologists includes a greater range of psychological therapeutic models and interventions. This means we often use an integrative approach. We also tailor therapy to your needs. Empirical research supports this as the best approach to achieve optimal outcomes.


Our psychology interventions are developed around the individual instead of forcing individuals through a standard treatment plan.

What are the competencies of Counselling Psychologists?

Referrers should have a sense of the competency of the health practitioner to whom they are referring patients or clients. The best way to do this is to use a registered health professional. All psychologists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to use the term ‘Psychologist’ and practice.


Using a registered health practitioner helps ensure they have been trained and completed professional supervision. It also ensures your therapist meets professional standards. This includes some assurance they maintain their health, integrity, training and registration standards.

​What is the difference between counselling and psychology?

The difference between a counselor and psychologist is that anyone can used the term counselor irrespective of suitability, training or competence. The term psychologist, however, is heavily regulated by the Australian Government. To use the term 'Psychologist' a health professional has to be trained, skilled, experienced and registered. Psychologist registration helps protect public safety.

​Why refer to a Counselling Psychologist?

When referring a patient/client for psychological counselling, it is important to understand the difference between a counsellor and Counselling Psychologist.


Anyone can refer to themselves as a 'counsellor'. Use of the term 'counsellor' is not regulated. There is no minimum training requirement for 'counsellors'. There is no registration and no independent body monitors their practice and well-being. They are also not subject to integrity checks. The risks of referring to generic counsellors might be significant.


Referrers have a duty of care to their patients. This is really important when individual might be at a particularly vulnerable time of their life. It is best to refer to a registered health professional who has to meet and maintain professional standards. All psychologists are also required to abide by a strict code of ethical conduct.

​When to refer to a Counselling Psychologist?

Referrers will be able to identify people presenting with common mental health issues or mental illness. Referrers might also provide appropriate health education. When the referrer is a doctor they might also consider prescribing medication. Medication for many clients should often only be considered after a psychological assessment. This helps determine if the condition can be treated with psychological therapy first. This often allows our clients to address their issues without medication. 


Our interventions can be as effective, and sometimes more effective, than medication. Psychological therapy has been found to be at least as effective as medication with many mental health conditions. Therapy can also have greater long-term benefits to the client. When a client’s condition is severe or not responsive to psychological therapy, medication can be a useful adjunct to therapy. Sometimes combined treatment may be the best option for some patients. 


We are trained in a range of therapeutic techniques. We tailor therapy to you based on your situation, cultural background and worldview. Research has demonstrated that therapeutic rapport is the best predictor of client engagement and therapeutic outcomes. The therapeutic rapport allows clients to fully engage in a professional relationship. The therapeutic relationship is key to providing safety and containment for you to address potentially sensitive and difficult personal issues. Using a formal model of therapeutic intervention is also an important predictor.

Access to a Counselling Psychologist Sydney

Medicare funding has resulted in access to psychologists being more affordable for clients. If a client is referred by their treating doctor with a mental health plan, session fees are partially rebated. A psychology Medicare rebate can be refunded for up to ten to twenty sessions per calendar year.

What conditions do Counselling Psychologists treat?

We work with people from across the lifespan. We deal with a wide range of mental health and life issues. This includes relationship problems (family and marital), sexual dysfunction, life stress and dealing with acute and chronic life crises. We also help with issues of loss and grief. Our services also provide counselling psychology interventions for people with anxiety disorders or other mood disorders.


Referral to us should be considered when the degree or duration of problems is beyond what the treating doctor can offer. 

At iflow psychology, we also have experience in illness and injury assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. This includes management and the treatment of cognitive, emotional and behaviour problems related to brain dysfunction. We have experience in rehabilitation, education and psychological therapy. We can help changes arising from a head injury, epilepsy, neurological disease and stroke. We also work with drugs and alcohol and dementia.

Psychosocial interventions are available to assist the management of other mental health disorders. This includes, for example, bipolar disorder and personality disorders. Patients with developmental and learning disorders and problems related to intellectual disability are also appropriate for referral. We also assist people with substance abuse disorders.


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02 6061 1144

48 Norton Street

Leichhardt NSW 2040



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