Titles, diplomas, and abilities abound in the advertising we see around us every day …a soup of words that could cause indigestion in the newcomer. Below is an attempt to distinguish between the different professions which treat the mind.
The Psychologist has made scientific studies to understand the human psyche in general terms. The psychologist has many ways to practise his profession ; receiving clients in one-to-one meetings is one of the possibilities. Psychology is a regulated profession.
The activity of a Counsellor (also a regulated profession) treats the sphere of relationships, both emotionally and sexually. Counsellors also have different ways of practising their profession. Those that have consultations, either one-to-one, in a couple, or as a family, usually have a special interest in the relationships between the people involved.
Not to be confused with the role of Counsellor is the Mediator, whose aim is to favour communication within the couple for a better reconciliation in the case of separation. Here the main function lies in the legal area and contributes towards freeing up the tribunals.
The Psychotherapist’s aim is to alleviate, or even end, a psychic suffering, to understand a symptom or a way of behaving, to help the client work on himself towards self-realization. His work is done exclusively in meetings with his clients.
In Belgium, the term « psychotherapist » is undergoing strong changes : a new law drastically redefines the term, bringing it closer to medical logic. The stricter law will restrict or even stop the work of many tried and tested professional psychotherapists.
Psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors all approach the mind from multiple angles : humanistic ; psychoanalytic ; systemic ; behavioral ; …each therapist choosing according to his natural inclinations.
The Psychoanalyst is the fervent defender of psychoanalysis in its clinical practise. Here, it is not a diploma that gains one a title, but the recognition of fellow psychoanalysts who validate the clinical practise.