There are many different kinds of professional counselors.
Here’s what the various terms mean:
Psychiatrists – A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (with a degree from a medical school) who completes a residency of at least four years in a mental health setting. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications and can deal with aspects of mental and emotional health that may have their origins in or be complicated by a biological condition requiring medical intervention.
Psychologists – A clinical psychologist receives specialized training in graduate school for about six years and holds a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy D.). Psychologists’ training also includes a one-year internship and a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in a mental health setting. Psychologists focus mainly on the aspects of mental and emotional health that do not require medical intervention. Psychologists do not prescribe medications. Training may be specialized to a particular area or population.
Psychotherapists – Social workers and counselors who have earned a master’s degree and receive appropriate training may practice as psychotherapists. Psychotherapists focus mainly on the aspects of mental and emotional health that do not require medical intervention. Psychotherapists also do not prescribe medications.
Social Workers & specialized therapists – Master’s-degree-level social workers and other practitioners also may practice as counselors or as marriage and family therapists. These practitioners also do not prescribe medication and deal mainly with the aspects of mental and emotional health that do not require medical intervention.