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Which Mental Health Professional do I need to see?

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Making the decision to get help for anxiety, depression, or trauma is a hugely courageous step.

It is also important that how anxiety works and what is the difference between anxiety and worry.

It is confused and complicated, however, by the vast array of titles and acronyms you come across when you start to search for support on the internet.

Unless you already work in the field, most people would not know the difference between Counselling, Psychotherapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Coaching.

Nor would they know what CBT, EMDR, CFT, MBCT, ACT, EFT, IPT, (I could go on) stand for.

I’m going to explain some of this, make it a little clearer.


Medical doctor with additional mental health training so they can prescribe medication.

Clinical Psychologist

Specifically trained in assessment and treatment of mental health disorders recommended by National Institute for Clinical Health and Care Excellence (NICE).


Psychotherapists are professionally trained in one or more specific therapies. These therapies all have a particular theoretical stance and a certain set of tools, techniques or premises that make that therapy different to others. Psychotherapists treat psychological disorders and trauma by exploring the cause of the psychological distress (usually rooted in younger life) with the client. They then teach them how to either accept or adapt to this knowledge to improve their quality of life. Some Psychotherapists also counsel and coach clients.


Counsellors often work at a more immediate level. Although many are trained to recognize mental health disorders counselling is not recommended by NICE to deal with any anxiety disorders. Counselling can be helpful to identify and solve problems, and to support you to be accepting of where you are. The Client/Counsellor relationship is often used to illustrate to the client their normal relating patterns and to teach new ones. This can help to problem solve current issues in the client’s life.


A coach is interested in your thoughts and core beliefs, so they can help with setting goals. They will challenge you to meet them too. They tend to work with a present and future focus. Coaches look at your potential and help you to release it.


In the UK there are NO regulation of private mental health support! ANYONE can call themselves anything and not get in trouble.

If you have a Mental Health Diagnosis (or believe that you may have depression, anxiety, or trauma) please follow NICE guidelines.

NICE Guidelines set out recommendations for treatment based on the most up-to-date scientific research available in the UK.

If you are looking for an accredited and registered Mental Health Professional, check here:

  • For a Counsellor - BACP

  • For a CBT Psychotherapist - BABCP

  • For a Psychologist - BPS

If you are unsure, have a chat with them, see their qualifications, talk to other clients, have a couple of sessions before signing up to a long-term course of therapy. If you would like to chat, check out or join me in



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