The difference between a Counsellor, Psychologist, and Social Worker, I feel, has not been adequately explained in the above answers. My understanding was that the person who posted this question wanted to know what background, qualifications, training, and experience, does each of these three professions have?! Non e vero?
Although Counsellors now have some check in place, still, anyone can call himself/herself a counsellor. From the religious orders and priests, pastors, and ministers to legal representatives - all are “counsellors”! Counsellors training is ususally done through a Counselling College-which is a non-accredited organisation and usually, not affiliated with universities although some universities have Bachelors Degrees in Counselling. These Degrees and Counselling Diplomas are not recognised by professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society (APS), AHPRA and Psychology Board of Australia. Counsellors are not elligible for medicare claims.
A Psychologist suggests a 4-year-trained person who obtained either a three-year Bachelors Degree in Psychology from a recognised university plus a fourth-year Diploma in Psychology followed by a 2 years supervised experience by a qualified psychologist. As such, a 4+2 year-trained psychologist is qualified to be registered by the AHPRA. Elligible to claim on medicare.
A Clinical Psychologist, on the other hand, is a person who has completed 4 years in Psychology such as Bachelors Degree with Honours plus 2 year specialist Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology followed by 2 years supervision which is 8 years all together. Eligible to claim services on medicare with higher rates of pay than Generalist Psychologists (e. g., 4-year trained psychologists).
A Social Worker usually completed 4 year Bachelor Degree in Social Work from a recognised university. Some social workers work with policies; some specialise in working with clients, children and families. Thet are elligible to claim on medicare.
Although these professions may work and perform similar tasks, they cannot be viewed as “same” ?!
Although some institutions such as Rivendell Child and Adolescent Unit, where I was on clinical placement some time ago try to “equate” clinical psychologist with a social worker, these institutions came under fierce criticism because clinical psychologists' training and experience cannot be “equated” with a social worker even if both perform similar roles. If interested, please contact the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) - a vibrant organisation of clinical psychologists.
Best of luck to all…
Ivan S. Bakich
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