What Are the Differences Between Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

When it comes to the field of psychology, there are various branches that focus on different aspects of mental health and well-being. Two such branches that often get confused are clinical psychology and counselling psychology. While they may seem similar on the surface, there are significant differences between the two.

Different Focus

One of the key distinctions between clinical psychology and counselling psychology lies in their respective focuses. Clinical psychology primarily deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. On the other hand, counselling psychology focuses on helping individuals cope with everyday life stressors, relationship issues, career challenges, and personal growth.

Educational Background

The educational requirements for becoming a clinical psychologist and a counselling psychologist also differ. To become a clinical psychologist, one typically needs a doctoral degree in clinical psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.)

along with supervised clinical experience. In contrast, becoming a counselling psychologist usually requires a master’s degree in counselling or a related field.

Treatment Approaches

Another difference lies in the treatment approaches used by clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists. Clinical psychologists often employ evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or psychoanalysis to address specific mental health conditions. Counselling psychologists, on the other hand, tend to utilize various therapeutic techniques like person-centered therapy or solution-focused brief therapy to assist individuals in overcoming challenges.

Work Settings

The work settings for clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists can also vary significantly. Clinical psychologists commonly work in hospitals or mental health clinics alongside psychiatrists and other medical professionals.

They often collaborate closely with medical teams to provide comprehensive care to patients with severe mental illnesses. On the contrary, counselling psychologists may work in educational institutions, private practices, community centers, or employee assistance programs.

Target Population

Both clinical psychology and counselling psychology serve diverse populations, but there are differences in their primary Target populations. Clinical psychologists typically work with individuals who have diagnosed mental disorders and may require more intensive treatment. Counselling psychologists often work with clients experiencing everyday life challenges and aim to enhance their overall well-being.


In summary, while clinical psychology and counselling psychology share some similarities, they have distinct focuses, educational requirements, treatment approaches, work settings, and Target populations. Understanding these differences can help individuals seeking psychological support to choose the right professional based on their specific needs.