Counselling in Poole

With so many options for Talking Therapy and Counselling in Poole open to you, let us be clear about what is available and ask, “What are the differences between Psychotherapy, Counselling, Psychiatry and Psychology?” The differences between a Psychotherapist, a Counsellor, a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist are as follows,


A Counsellor may also be called Psychotherapist.  A Counsellor assumes that people are capable of working through the difficulties in their lives with the aid of a Skilled Helper.

A counsellor will work to equalise the power imbalance between herself and the client to help the client find his own resources.

For a counsellor the positive power of the relationship between herself and her client will do as much to facilitate change as the theories and techniques available to them. Much work is put in by the counsellor to promote this relationship.

In order to become a qualified therapist good training providers require trainee counsellors to undergo a minimum of 35 hours therapy with a trained therapist. This ensures that Counsellors have personal experience of the power and impact of the theories they employ. Personal therapy in this context also seeks to ensure that the Counsellor is aware of her own “issues” so that these issues do not impact on their work.

The theories an experienced Counsellor must have an awareness of  and may employ, include:

-Cognitive behavioural therapy

-Person Centred Therapy

-Systemic Therapy

-Art Therapy

-Gestalt Therapy


-Solution focused therapy

-Play therapy

-Group therapy

-Couple Counselling

-Narrative therapy

-Life Coaching (although not all Life Coaches are trained Counsellors)


This list is not exhaustive and Accredited Counsellors add to their list of skills each year.

Clinical Psychology

A Clinical Psychologist may also be called a Psychotherapist and studies mind and behaviour patterns seeking to scientifically measure and identify trends in individuals and society in order to implement treatment plans.

Clinical Psychology employs only Cognitive Behavioural Therapy although there is now a growing trend for Clinical Psychology to embrace some of the other Therapies mentioned above.

Put simply Cognitive Behavioural Therapy states that how we Think influences how we Behave which in turn impacts on how we Feel.

A Clinical Psychologist asks us to change the way we look at things and replace unhelpful thinking with more functional ways of looking at things.  The knowledge base of the practitioner is essential and clients go to clinical psychology hoping to discover how to modify their faulty thinking.

Less importance is placed in the relationship between the client and therapist and the power imbalance is used to enhance the teaching nature of the therapy.

Clinical Psychologists are not required to experience Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a client.



A Psychiatrist may also be called a psychotherapist, has a medical degree in the first instance and can prescribe medication. Psychiatry seeks to identify, diagnose and treat mental disorders outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This manual is compiled by psychiatrists.

A psychiatrist may refer to his clients as patients and once again, less importance is placed in the relationship between the client and the therapist and this power imbalance is used to enhance the teaching and treating nature of the therapy.A psychiatrist may have further training in the therapies mentioned above but this is not a requirement of practice.

A psychiatrist is not required to experience psychiatry as a client.


All experienced Counsellors, Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists have a deep understanding of how difficult emotions and thoughts can negatively impact our lives.

In their own ways they seek to help us feel better and live happier lives.

All three professions require membership of organizations recognized by the NHS and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

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