Clinical psychologists offer a talking therapy approach to medical and psychological problems, working to identify conditions, breaking down the components of the problems and jointly agreeing and implementing practical techniques to overcome or accommodate these better.
Whatever the problem, a clinical psychologist should consider what the scientific research says about its likely cause(s) and what interventions or changes would be most likely to help.
Registered clinical psychologists have a degree in psychology plus an additional three to five years of postgraduate university training in applying the science of psychology to clinical problems. It therefore takes six to eight years to qualify as a registered clinical psychologist, the qualification nowadays including a doctorate in clinical psychology.
Clinical psychologists undergo extensive and regulated training in understanding and assessing a wide range of psychological difficulties and determining the most appropriate form of help. They are trained to use multiple treatment models and techniques to enable each patient to be offered a bespoke level of care.
Therapists and counsellors will often have sought training in specific techniques or problem areas but are not yet subject to any legally regulated professional qualifications. They have not undergone the same rigorous and extensive training. Indeed currently anyone can call themself a counsellor and there are relatively few safeguards around the term therapist.