Psychologists in Ottawa | Different Types of Counselors, Same Goals

Ottawa psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, therapists, and counsellors have the same goal in mind—helping you reach a place of comfort and healthy sense of self. A psychologist in Ottawa and a psychologist in Kanata, is a trained professional providing psychological services to help you reach your goals.  A social worker provides counselling, therapy or psychotherapy services aimed at helping the person, a child, a teen, couple or family determine what is best for them. Ultimately, we are all here to help you. Give us a call to make an appointment with one of our staff members dedicated to helping you.  We provide counseling services for people of all ages. We work with children through our child  and family therapist in Ottawa, and our counselling psychotherapists work with teenagers, young adults, individuals, married couples, divorced and remarried couples, families and step-families.  We’re here to provide counselling, psychotherapy and support throughout all of your life stages.

What Does an Ottawa Psychologist Do?

Through research, a psychologist aims to better society by helping people to understand their mental, emotional, and behavioral functions. Psychologists often play a therapeutic role, and through counselling, can apply their psychological knowledge to helping patients recover from various struggles. Through assessment and treatment, psychologists and counsellors alike care about working towards a healthy lifestyle and well-being for their patients. The word psychology literally means “study of the soul”, proving the deep commitment these professionals have to bettering the daily functions for their clients, in order to help their life be happier overall. Getting help with an emotional or mental struggle is just as crucial as getting help for a physical injury. You need to maintain a balance of emotional, mental, and physical help in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. Therapy, whether with a social worker, a psychotherapist, psychologist, or counsellor, is helpful for getting through tough times in life and dealing with frequent struggles that you may experience.

What is the Difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Social Worker, Psychotherapist, or a Counsellor? 

Psychologists, Psychiatrist, Psych Associate, Psychotherapists, and Social Workers are all dedicated to helping people overcome emotional  and mental health issues. Although the end goal is the same, there are significant differences between the these fields.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication. Psychiatrist have a degree in medicine, a license to practice medicine in their province, and specialist certification in psychiatry. They have an additional five years of study after their general medical degree. They are licensed and qualified to prescribe medication.

Psychiatrists can also diagnosis people with mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bi-polar, borderline personality. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. Some psychiatrist offer psychotherapy services but most only do medication adjustments.  Psychiatrists typically work with complex cases.

People see a psychiatrist if they are not responding well to typical psychiatric medications. A family doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist if you are on many medications and  your medication needs to be adjusted. People usually require a referral from their family doctor to see a Psychiatrist. Psychiatric services are covered by your provincial health care system.

Summary

  • You need a referral to see a Psychiatrist
  • Psychiatrist are medical doctors
  • Psychiatrist can prescribe medication
  • Psychiatrist’s fees are covered by OHIP

Clinical Psychologist or Psych Associate

A clinical psychologist interview patients and provide therapy to children, teens, adults, families, and couples. They perform diagnostic testing for psycho-educational assessments to identify learning disabilities or if a person is gifted (test for intellectual and psychological function). They perform diagnostic testing for emotional or mental disorders such as depression, bi-polar, borderline personality.  A psychologist will write up a report from a psycho-educational assessment.  A psychologist also prepare reports for a court commenting on a person’s mental, intellectual, and psychological function

A clinical psychologist provides psychotherapy or psychological services to children, teens, adults, families, or couples. A clinical psychologist must have specific training and a specific license to provide psychological services to a specific age group. You must be trained as a child therapist in order to work with children.

Psychologists have at least 6 years of university study and supervised experience. They also have a Masters or Doctorate level qualification in psychology. Psychologists are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication.

Psychologists belong to a provincial College of psychology. They must pass exams in order to belong to the College of psychology. You do not need a referral to see a Psychologist. You pay out of pocket for Psychological services. Therapy or for Psychological services offered by a Psychologist may be covered by third party health insurance through your place of work.

Summary

  • Psychologist perform diagnostic testing for psycho-educational assessments and mental health issues
  • A Psychologist can diagnosis you with a mental health issue such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, eating disorder or borderline personality
  • Psychologists provide for Psychological services or psychotherapy services
  • Psychologists cannot adjust or prescribe medication
  • You do not need a referral to see a Psychologist
  • You pay out of pocket for Psychological services

Social Worker

Social workers help people resolve problems that affect their day-to-day lives. The focus is on finding practical solutions to use people’s own strengths to improve coping with their unique situation.

Social Workers have a B.S.W.  or M.S.W. from a university accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education. A B.S.W. is a Bachelors of Social Work (4 years of university education).  Social Workers with a M.S.W. designation have completed a Masters of Social Work degree (1- 2 years post graduate education) which includes a practicum experience in a hospital, treatment centre or community health setting. Some Social Workers also have a R.S.W. designation which means they are registered with the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Work.

People see Social Workers when they are going through a difficult period in their personal, family and/or work life. Social Workers can help people with a variety of issues ranging from marriage difficulties, family issues, depression, anxiety trauma or sexual issues to individual therapy or psychotherapy. Social workers can work with children, teens, adults, couples, and families. Qualified Social Workers can work with military personal and families through Medavie/BlueCross (Veterans Affairs, Canadian Armed Forces). Qualified Social Workers can work with refugees through the Canadian Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for Refugees.

Social Workers aim is to enhance mental health functioning by helping people participate more fully in relationships, work, and community life. Some Social Workers also assist people who have experienced a motor vehicle accident. Social Workers can write reports for court with regards to anger management, best practices with regards to children following a divorce, or the impact a sexual assault has had on a client.

Therapy or psychotherapy offered by a Social Workers may be covered by third party health insurance through your place of work. You do not need a referral to see a Social Workers.

Summary

  • Social Workers provide therapy or psychotherapy services
  • Social Workers cannot adjust or prescribe medication
  • You do not need a referral to see a Social Workers
  • You pay out of pocket for Social Workers services
  • Social Workers are qualified to work with refugees, military personal, and military families through special government funded programs Medavie/BlueCross (Veterans Affairs, Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for Refugees
  • Social workers’ fees are considered a medical expense on your income tax return

A Registered Psychotherapist

Registered Psychotherapists work with individuals, couples, teens, children, and families in individual and group settings. Psychotherapy occurs when the Registered Psychotherapist (RP) and client enter into a psychotherapeutic relationship where both work together to bring about positive change in the client’s thinking, feeling, behaviour and social functioning. Individuals usually seek psychotherapy when they have thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviours that are adversely affecting their day-to-day lives, relationships and the ability to enjoy life. A Psychotherapists provides talk therapy. Psychotherapists have a 2 year post graduate degree in order to become trained as a Psychotherapist.

Psychotherapy is primarily a talk therapy intended to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing. Some psychotherapy may also include non-verbal activities like music, art or play therapy.

Psychotherapists need to be registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario in order to use the term restricted term “Registered Psychotherapists” and “Psychotherapy”. Psychotherapists need to write exams to be part of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Summary

  • Psychotherapists provide psychotherapy services
  • Psychotherapists cannot adjust or prescribe medication
  • You do not need a referral to see a Psychotherapists
  • You pay out of pocket for Psychotherapists services
  • qualified Psychotherapists can work with refugees, military personal, and military families through special government funded programs Medavie/BlueCross (Veterans Affairs, Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for Refugees

Counsellor

  • Counsellors work with the patient to determine the best way for the counselling sessions to provide preferred outcomes.
  • Counsellors do not require the same degree of advanced training or licensure to operate.
  • Counsellors have access to a much broader field of potential models for counselling.
  • Counsellors lack the in-depth understanding provided by clinical research found in psychotherapy and Psychology
  • Counselling is more advice giving instead of allowing the client to find their own way
  • Counsellors do not need to belong to a registered College to provide counselling services. They cannot perform the restricted act of psychotherapy.
  • Counselling programs are offered at the diploma and graduate certificate level.

What Role Can a Psychologist Play in Counselling or Psychotherapy?

Counselling or psychotherapy is a personalized service that is about you—your well-being, your health, and your needs. At Family-Therapy, our team of registered social workers,registered psychotherapists and counsellors all have the same goal in mind, which is making you able to live life in a healthy way that will make you happy. Sometimes determining to seek help from a psychologist, registered social workers,registered psychotherapists is a hard decision. At Family-Therapy, we offer a consultation to go over what you may be feeling, thinking, and hoping to achieve. This consultation will enlighten you to your therapeutic needs, and will also help you to understand how Family-Therapy can help and fit as a part of bettering your life. Learning a bit more about what therapy has to offer you can be beneficial for you and your loved ones. Therapy, through the services of a psychologist, registered social workers, or a registered psychotherapists can be a great option for you. Although there are different types of therapists and psychotherapists, at Family-Therapy we all have the same goal in mind, which is providing help and support for you, your child, your teen, as a couple, your family or your step-family. Call our office in Kanata to set up a consultation today to determine your needs. Kanata is located in the west end of Ottawa.