In Australia, the practice of psychology is highly regulated, while that of counselling is not. However, you do need a graduate diploma of counselling for registration with the Australian Counselling Association. Psychologists and Counsellors do cover some common ground, however there are some distinctions, both in their training and their scope of practice. Counsellors are highly skilled in applying integrative therapies and usually engage with clients for a short term to address a specific problem. Whereas, Psychologists use evidence-based strategies to diagnose and treat mental illnesses and treatment is usually ongoing.
Psychologists are considered experts in human emotions, behaviour and mental processes and can cover more complex mental health conditions. In Australia, to practice as a Registered Psychologist you need to obtain a tick of approval from the Psychology Board of Australia. You can either have the title of Clinical Psychologist or Registered Psychologist. Psychologists must train at University for 6 years and undergo supervised practice. They may also hold a Masters qualification and therefore hold the title of Clinical Psychologist which indicates more specialised practice. They may also hold a PhD and can then assume a title of ‘Dr”. Also, in Australia, Psychology is rebated through Medicare.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have then undergone further study in Psychology. Psychiatrists usually undergo 11 years of training at University Level. Psychiatrists tend to treat complex and serious mental illness. They can also prescribe medications.