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What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?

Posted 11th March 2016


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What is the difference between a
Psychologist and a Counsellor?

EAP services are often provided by a range of professionals.

With increasing cost pressures on EAP services many providers will look at ways to reduce their largest overhead which is wages. This often means choosing less qualified and experienced staff.
When being asked to tender for EAP services the scope of work often asks for ‘Counsellors’. The title Counsellor is not synonymous with Psychologist.

Why is this important you may ask?
A person practicing as a Psychologist is only able to use this title if they have completed a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and completed the appropriate registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Association (AHPRA). AHPRA strictly regulate the registration and compliance of many allied health professionals from doctors and nurses to speech pathologists.  This process ensures a base training level for all in the profession as well as  ongoing professional development and compliance with ethical and legal guidelines. Psychologist are trained in techniques that are evidence based to address mental health issues. These techniques ensure successful outcomes in a timely manner for clients. For more information access
A counsellor on the other hand has no regulatory requirements. In fact anyone can call themselves a Counsellor with no qualifications at all. This means there is no basic skill level or obligation to manage ethical or legal requirements of client cases. The effectiveness of an intervention is questionable and quality assurance around legal and ethical requirements unclear.
When cost is a priority the quality of an intervention is critical. The return on investment for a well managed EAP case in 3 sessions may in fact save you, the employer, a worker’s compensation payout. This alone could pay for an entire EAP program.
So, quality is critical when providing EAP services. And the old saying you get what you pay for rings true. Next time you put your EAP out to tender consider the qualifications of those treating your employees. 


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