Psychology Definitions

DefinitionsWhat do the terms Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Life Coach and Psychotherapist mean and how do they differ?


Psychiatrist  is a doctor who specializes in psychiatry and is certified in treating mental disorders. Psychiatrists are one of the few mental health professionals who are able to prescribe psychiatric medication.

Psychologist is an academic, occupational or professional title used by individuals who conduct psychological research or teach psychology.

Therapist, Counselor or Psychotherapist all means the same thing. They are skilled practitioners trained to provide treatment to help people change in their thoughts, behavior and feelings. Examples of professions that provide psychotherapy:
▪    Licensed counselors
▪    Licensed clinical social workers
▪    Marriage counselors
▪    Family counselors

Life Coaching is a future-focused practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Sometimes trained counselors call themselves life coaches because the term sounds less intimidating. Life Coaches are usually not trained counselors but obtain a certification after a short period of time. Unlike Licensed Mental Health Counselors Life Coaches are not regulated by the state of Florida. Education requirements are not defined as they are for Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Usually Life Coaches are not trained to help problems such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, marriage, relationships and many other struggles. Whereas education and training for Licensed Mental Health Counselors are specified by law, this is not the case for Life Coaches. Life Coaching only looks at the present but does not study the past for patterns and experiences that might impact a person’s current situation.

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