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What is the difference between Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Counselling, Mental Health Counselling, Therapy, Psychotherapy and just talking?

Clinical psychology and counselling psychology are two branches of psychology that share many similarities but also have distinct differences. 


“Clinical psychology and counselling” typically refers to treating individuals who are experiencing more severe and complex mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. They treat these conditions using a variety of therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions. 


“Counselling” typically refers to helping individuals cope with everyday stressors, life transitions, and relationship difficulties. They provide support, guidance, and interventions aimed at improving overall well-being and functioning, often utilizing talk therapy and skills-building techniques. 


Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy are interchangeable terms. For example, counsellors are called Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario, Registered Counselling Therapists in Nova Scotia, Registered Clinical Counsellors in BC, etc. 


Therapy is generally provided by trained psychiatrists (mental health sub-specialty medical doctors), psychologists, counsellors, social workers, etc.


Therapy is generally rigorously and strictly regulated by a College which has strict performance and standards guidelines to ensure the registered psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, or therapists would be providing evidence-based research-based treatment.


Treatment is very different from just talking, empathizing or showing sympathy with a client or patient. Treatment is a rigorous evidence-based, research-based treatment protocol, which generally involves in-session psychological exercises, and in-between-session psychological exercises or homework.


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