‘What is a Mental Health Clinician’ vs. a Psychologist (and Which One Do I Need)

There has always been a steady confusion about which is which. Most people think that both do the same work or can serve in place of each other, but that is wrong. they are overlapping professions, but are different in their right. Let’s take a look at some of the disparity between both professions;


According to Wikipedia;

A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. They deal with problems like stress management, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, low self-esteem, etc.

A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments


Both professions do not obtain the same degree neither do they receive the same training. A Psychologist, studies psychology, earn a master’s in psychology and possibly a doctorate in psychology. This is unlike the Mental health counselor, who obtains a master’s in mental health counseling.


In the treatment of patients, both do not use the same approach;

Mental health clinicians, also known as mental health counselors, are just basically counselors who are specialized in Mental health. They provide talk therapy to their patients about their mental health and try to return them to a state of mental healthiness. They offer assistance to their patients on anything that affects their mental health, this could include relationship stress, anxiety, abuse, emotional distress, or a traumatic event. The counselor observes all these and creates a plan to help you successfully get back up. They are more like advisers or guides to the patient. They do not diagnose or carry out tests.

Psychologists provide almost the same services the counselor provides, they are licensed to do therapy, but Psychology contains a much-focused approach when compared to Mental health counseling which is broader. The psychologist is a master of the mind and human behavior. They solve issues as complex as disorders and can diagnose

Which one do I need?

Due to their overlapping duties, most people don’t know whether to see a mental health counselor or a psychologist when they have cases. Here are some factors you need to consider when choosing between a mental health counselor and a psychologist.

What is my problem;

First of all, you need to try and identify what your problem is. Whatever your answer is will guide you to the right professional. In most cases, patients that need a counselor, have full knowledge of what their problem is, e.g stress, depression, or anger management. In cases where it is a mental disorder or you can’t exactly pinpoint your problem, talking to a psychologist is the best option.

Is there a need for diagnosis;

If there is a need for any form of diagnosis, then a psychologist is the right person to meet. Mental health counselors are not allowed to diagnose patients. They only provide therapy and counseling.