Over the past few months people have asked me: “What is the difference between a Psychotherapist vs Psychologist?”. This is a topic I find very interesting. I find that a lot of professionals provide misguided answers to their clients regarding this question.

The explanation I provide is based on my own perspective on each profession and is not a 100% exact definition.

I personally see a Psychotherapist and Psychologist as similar and comparable to a Naturopath and a traditional medical Doctor.  

The Difference Between Psychotherapist vs Psychologist


To me, a Psychotherapist looks at the “whole person”, body, mind a spirit. They attempt to guide the client in discovering the reasons or causes behind why they are feeling incongruent within themselves. Most would call it “talk therapy”. In talk therapy we go back in time to infancy and childhood and take a look at family dynamics. During that time, we might discover the origin of our shame, inner critic and of course other potential issues.

Psychotherapist vs Psychologist

Similar to a Naturopath we seek to discover and treat the issue based on where it originated from. We seek to assist our clients in healing the issue in a way that it is much more manageable in their life. Perhaps even fully resolved. That would be the goal of course. I have become aware that many of my clients have a very difficult time being full “with” their own emotions. Our emotions can often feel very overwhelming. Many of us will try a number of distracting techniques (better known as addictions) to try to cope with these feelings.

To sum it up, I feel a Psychotherapist works on healing the issues within the client. Healing is done from a whole body mind and spirit approach so that issues may be resolved.


A Psychologist can and does engage in talk therapy with clients as well. However, their role can be more detailed. Psychologists are engaged in relation to significant disturbances such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and more.

Psychologists are the folks who do the “diagnosing” of these conditions. A Psychotherapist does not Diagnose. A Psychologist will guide the client through specific testing and will diagnose if appropriate. A Psychologist may refer their client to a Psychiatrist to obtain prescribed medication which can help the client balance their depression or anxiety.

What About Psychiatrists?

A Psychiatrist though, is the professional who most often decides on the dosage or medication prescribed. They also manage the dosing through monitoring the patients blood levels.

In summary, how can we understand the difference between a Psychotherapist vs Psychologist? A Psychotherapist can be seen as a more natural full mind. While a Psychologist deals with diagnosis and prescription medication support.

Feel like a Psychotherapist would be the right approach for you? Then please feel free to reach out and book a complimentary consultation with Shelley from Psychotherapy with Shelley.