Dynamic Psychotherapy

Dynamic Psychotherapy is a Melbourne Psychology Practice with an ISTDP focus

Understanding Therapist Titles

Therapist. Psychologist. Counsellor. It can be extremely confusing trying to understand what each of these titles mean, what the difference is between them, and which one is right for you.

Read on as we de-mystify each of these titles.

What is a Therapist?

The title ‘therapist’ is a broad term covering a wide range of mental health professionals including psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, and social workers. Therapists can help individuals with emotional, psychological, and behavioural problems by providing a safe and confidential space for individuals to discuss their unique problems. Therapists then use talk-therapy to help individuals understand themselves, manage stress, navigate difficulties in relationships, and develop specific strategies to address mental health issues or neurobiological conditions.

In Australia, therapist is not a legally regulated term which means that a person may call themselves a ‘therapist’ and work as a ‘therapist’ without any qualifications, training or experience. However, at Dynamic Psychotherapy, all of our therapists are required to have a minimum of registration with Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and to be at least undertaking a three-year sequence in advanced psychotherapy training and skills.

What is a Psychologist?

A Psychologist is a professional who has completed a five- or six-year sequence of university studies and who uses evidence-based techniques and strategies to help individuals. That help can be across a wide range of areas from targeting emotional distress, organisational and workplace issues, sports and other performance psychology, forensic psychology or community psychology.   A Psychologist meets the requirements for registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

At Dynamic Psychotherapy, our Psychologists are all trained to provide help for psychological distress including targeting emotions, thoughts and behaviours that are interfering with happiness, well-being, and relationships.   They work with people of various ages and backgrounds, addressing a wide range of issues from depression and anxiety, to eating disorders, relationships problems, OCD, sports and performance-related issues, anger management, and a wide range of trauma including attachment trauma, trauma in emergency service personnel, attachment, and domestic violence. Most of our Psychologists undertake extensive training additional to their university degrees.

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

A Clinical Psychologist is a Psychologist with additional specialist training having completed a two-year Clinical Psychology Registrar Program in addition to a six- or seven-year sequence of studies to obtain at least a Master of Clinical Psychology. They have registration with registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with the endorsement of “Clinical Psychologist”.

Clinical Psychologists undergo extensive education and training to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of mental health conditions. Clinical psychologists work with the same range of issues as Psychologists but have additional training in mental health issues and disorders, and therefore often work with individuals with more complex psychological conditions. As with our Psychologists, at Dynamic Psychotherapy our Clinical Psychologists have all undertaken or are undertaking extensive additional training in addition to their initial eight- or nine-years of training.

What is a Clinical Psychology Registrar?

A Clinical Psychology Registrar has completed the same six- or seven-year sequence of university studies as a Clinical Psychologist but is still undertaking the additional two years of specialist training needed for the title of “Clinical” Psychologist. Thus they are highly trained in diagnosing and providing help with a range of emotional and mental health issues but are still in the process of completing their two-year program to become a ”Clinical Psychologist”.  

What is a Psychotherapist?

Psychotherapist is a term that can be used interchangeably with therapist and is not a legally regulated term in Australia. The title Psychotherapist tends to suggest that the professional has a particular interest in understanding and helping with relationship dynamics, however, as it is not regulated, it may be used even by a lay person with no training and in a variety of settings.

As with the term ‘therapist’, at Dynamic Psychotherapy our psychotherapists must have completed training that entitles them for registration with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and to be undertaking additional advanced training in psychotherapy including ISTDP.

What is a Counsellor?

“Counsellor” is another non-regulated title that can be used by even a lay person without training. At Dynamic Psychotherapy our Counsellors must have specific training in helping emotional issues to work with individuals in bringing about personal, emotional, and behavioural changes. Our Counsellors provide a supportive and confidential space for people to talk about their concerns, feelings, and experiences. They use active listening and empathetic communication to help clients gain insight into their issues and explore potential solutions. Counsellors may assist with a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship problems, stress, grief, or self-esteem issues. They work collaboratively with clients to facilitate positive changes in their lives.

All of our Counsellors are undertaking extensive psychotherapy training in addition to the initial training that resulted in eligibility for registration with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

What is a Social Worker?

A social worker is a professional who has completed at least a four-year sequence of university studies and helps individuals and families navigate various challenges, working towards enhancing people’s well-being by addressing social, emotional, and practical issues. They often work with individuals and families facing difficult circumstances such as poverty, mental health issues, family problems, or other social challenges. Social workers provide support, advocacy, and resources to empower individuals within their family system and communities. They may assist in connecting people with services, guiding them through difficult life transitions, and helping them access the support they need. In essence, social workers in Australia play a crucial role in improving the social and emotional aspects of people’s lives by offering practical assistance and emotional support.

Some social workers have undertaken specific training in psychotherapy skills to provide targeted interventions for individuals, couples, or families experience emotional distress and will work with issues similar to the issues that Psychologists work with.


1. What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist In Australia?

2. What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Therapist In Australia?

3. What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist In Australia?

4. What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor In Australia?

5. What is the difference between a Counsellor and a Social Worker In Australia?


There are a variety of different types of therapist in Australia, each of which serve different needs at different price points. At Dynamic Psychotherapy, we have a range of therapists – psychologists, clinical psychologist, social workers, counsellors and psychotherapists – ready to help you achieve change.

Our Psychologists and Therapists

Here at Dynamic Psychotherapy, we have a professional, caring team of Clinical Psychologists, Psychologists, Counsellors and Therapists ready to help you.

Clinical psychologist Chris Bolton.

Chris Bolton

Clinical Psychologist

Senior clinical psychologist Julie Cochrane

Julie Cochrane

Clinical Psychologist

Senior clinical psychologist Moulya Ramesh Kumar

Moulya Ramesh Kumar

Clinical Psychologist

Click the button below to view all of our team.

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