Jun 2024
Pick Me Pick Me

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Pick me Pick me !!  


Counsellor or Psychologist – who do you choose ?

There has been a debate for many years over who gives the best service and the difference between  a psychologist and a counsellor . There is no short answer to this because it depends . There are so many factors that go into a successful outcome with a therapist . Research tells us that the best predictor of a successful outcome is first and foremost the rapport, connection, and compatibility with the client . I always tell my clients that I’m not for everyone , and that’s ok. You don’t have to be  I understand that some people do not respond well to my style of  work , even though I use many different modalities and therapeutic techniques , my style of delivery may be very different to other therapists in my field .

Psychologist in Australia  at present are inundated with clients. There has been a surge in the desire to access mental health support. That a great thing !  They often have  a waiting list , as people are looking more and more towards the realisation that their mental health is important and that is affects all areas of ones life . We are slowly reducing and busting the myth that mental illness means you are “ crazy” and that its best to keep the “ secret” of mental illness in the family . My own family has suffered , including myself  so I have no qualms about letting  people know that .As a successful professional I am able to show that it is possible to make your journey in life purposeful and happy despite the challenges that mental ill health bring us.

We live with it and manage it ; it is not curable.

How our government helps :

Thankfully, we have  a Medicare system that gives people free, or  fee assisted therapy sessions  . Psychologist having trained for 6 years can expect a good fee for service as they have studied and are seen as clinical specialists when it comes to assessing diagnosing and treating mental health conditions . Counsellors deal with issues that can arise out of mental health conditions such as job loss , relationship issues , social anxiety , stress , school or home problems and grief . While we are not able to diagnosis as a psychologist can, we are equipped to help that client navigate that diagnosis . For example, I have a number of clients with BPD and Complex Post Traumatic stress Disorder who require skills to manage their symptoms and deal with the daily stresses that come about as a result of their diagnosis . I do not diagnose them I referred them to a psychologist or psychiatrist for that , but I am certainly able to work with them after this diagnosis to find ways to cope with the daily struggles that ensue  when you live with a mental health condition.

Some psychologists in 2024 charge approximately $240 for a 50 minute session and Medicare requires clients to pay a gap fee of approximately $100 , most counsellors charge between $100-150 so in fact the difference in out of pocket expense is comparable .

The advantage of moving onto a counsellor when you have used up your ten sessions that are Medicare rebate able is that you kind the kind of support that most psychologists because of their workload are unable to provide. You can take your diagnosis and you can engage in more long-term psychotherapy , where you can join the dots between behaviours blocks and barriers to unearth what is keeping you from reaching your full potential in your life.




How am I different ?


Sian Pryce Counselling - Child (and Parent) Information & Counselling - Gold Coast Community Directory



I develop rapport and connection with my client for an ongoing relationship that can if the client wishes could span many years. I have a few clients that I have worked with for 4 years . They no longer see me every week as they have their coping strategies  but may need a top up now and then.

I work  with you for a full 60 minutes . If we are having a deeper conversation it may extend

I always tell my clients I am here for the long haul if you need me .

I never give up if they are also never giving up.

I work between sessions with my client ( where possible )

I can  sometimes take calls and deal with crises, and I am available  for support via email and text .

Mental health conditions do not only happen between 9-5pm and neither can they be predicted The very nature of mental illness/ crises /sudden problems  is that it is messy chaotic and mercurial .  Sometimes a call is needed between a session to get the client back to baseline and back on track until we meet for a session  in that moment .

Few psychologists are able to provide this kind of customised service , as they are too busy , so as I counsellor I am a great safety net .

You can come for  a session , then not come for weeks , or you can come for 6 sessions , its up to you. Whatever you feel is necessary for your own recovery and wellbeing.

There is no set process or requirements , as I utilise person centred therapy, which means you are the driver of your own session not me .

Hopefully, this has given you a better idea of the differences between a psychologist and a counsellor in  a practical sense . Below is a factual list of the differences.


The differences between a psychologist and counsellor in a nutshell.


Australia, the distinctions between a counsellor and a psychologist are defined by their education, training, professional registration, and the services they provide. Here’s a detailed comparison:

Counsellor in Australia

  1. Education and Training:

– Typically holds a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counselling or a related field.

– Training programs may vary, but usually include coursework and supervised practical experience.


  1. Registration and Accreditation:

– Counsellors may be accredited by professional bodies such as the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

– Accreditation with these bodies is voluntary but can enhance credibility and professional recognition.


  1. Scope of Practice:

Counsellors    – Provides support for personal, social, and psychological issues such as relationship problems, stress, grief, career decisions, and personal development.- Employs talk therapy to offer practical solutions and emotional support.


  1. Work Settings: Counsellors – Often found in community centres, schools, private practice, workplaces, and non-profit organizations.


Key Differences

– Education and Training: Psychologists undergo more extensive education and training compared to counsellors.

– Registration: Psychologists must be registered with AHPRA, while counsellor registration with professional bodies like ACA or PACFA is voluntary.

– Scope of Practice: Psychologists can diagnose and treat mental health disorders, conduct psychological assessments, and often engage in research. Counsellors focus more on providing support for personal and social issues without necessarily diagnosing mental health conditions.


Choosing Between a Counsellor and a Psychologist

– For Specific Issues: If you’re dealing with specific life challenges like stress, relationships, or career decisions, a counsellor might be suitable.

– For Mental Health Disorders: If you have a mental health disorder or need psychological testing, a psychologist would be more appropriate.


Both counsellors and psychologists play important roles in mental health care, and the choice depends on your specific needs and the nature of the issues you are facing.

I hope you find a wellbeing warrior who can support you in the best way possible . Don’t give up either . Some of my clients have been to many  different psychologists and counsellors before they find the right fit. Happy hunting !