Difference Between Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Table of Contents

The scientific study of the mind and behaviour is called psychology. The branch of psychology which deals with the assessment and treatment of mental illness and behavioural problems is clinical psychology. A psychological specialty that has researched and applied for work in several broad domains: counselling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counselling; and prevention and health is counselling psychology
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Table of Contents

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession. It’s an aspect of psychological science and practice concerned with the analysis, treatment, and prevention of human psychological disabilities with the enhancement of personal adjustment and effectiveness.

  • Late in the 19th century, Sigmund Freud was developing psychoanalysis when the first scientific application of clinical psychology began.
  • Used to develop standardized tests for mental illness.
  • Clinical psychology takes additional standardized assessment measures with personality tests.
  • Diagnostic interviewing, behavioral assessment interpretation of psychological test measures, and administration are all procedures.
  • Broadly inclusive of severe psychopathology(scientific exploration of abnormal mental states)
  • Provide psychotherapy and apply 4 primary theoretical organizations- CBT(cognitive behavioural therapy), family therapy, humanistic, and psychodynamic.

What is Counselling Psychology?

Counselling Psychology is a generalist health service specialty in professional psychology.
It focuses on providing therapeutic treatments to clients who experience many symptoms of mental illness paying special attention to social, vocational, emotional, educational, and health-related concerns.

  • Counselling’ was coined by Carl Rogers who lacking medical qualifications couldn’t call his work psychotherapy, started as a result of World War II
  • Helps people improve their well being
  • Focus on mental health issues and challenges faced by individuals across their lifespan.
  • They work with groups and communities to assist them in addressing or preventing problems, as well as to improve their social abilities
  • Assessment techniques for the diagnosis of psychological disorders and programs and workshops for well being
  • Clinical supervision, test construction, and validation.

Difference between Clinical and Counselling Psychology

Research Area
Clinical Psychologists favour psychopathological conditions, on the other hand, counseling psychologists prefer vocational assessment and minority psychology. But it was observed that even the differences in the two areas overlap; hence, the difference is the frequency with which the two parts study and use the training.

Nature of Training
Clinical Psychologists receive a wealth of training in theoretical orientations. They also receive serious clinical training with psychopathology, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorders.
In contrast, counselling psychologists tend to ascribe to humanistic and person-centered theoretical orientations. They train to see people with relationship issues, substance abuse, career counselling, and difficulty in adapting to life changes.

Which one to choose/ career path

What are you more inclined to do?

1. Are you interested in studying psychopathology and working with patients with serious psychological and mental health disorders?

Then clinical.

2. Are you interested in providing emotional and vocational support for a healthier population base with psychological counselling?

Then counselling.

A counselling psychologist is often employed within a university, delivering counselling services. Whereas a clinical psychologist more often works in hospitals.

Nature of treatment

Both greatly overlap but what we do see is that counselling psychologists are more inclined to a humanistic approach, dealing directly with behaviour problems in the community.
Clinical psychologists on the other hand deal with more serious illnesses which may require hospitalisation.
As one practice deals with healthier individuals than the other both have different treatments and different standardised tests as well.

Where can I find a professional Counselling Psychologist?

Here at Infiheal, we bring you 24/7 mental healthcare support tailored to your personality. We have built a bot that understands your personality type and will connect you to the right counsellor.


1. Is a clinical psychologist a Doctor?

Yes, as long as the psychologist has a Ph.D. they will be referred to as a doctor. The scope of duty, however, is limited to providing counselling,psychotherapy and they cannot prescribe medications as they are not MDs.

2. Is psychology and clinical psychology the same?

Psychology is a general study of mental behaviours and psychological functions. Clinical psychology is an aspect of psychological science and practice concerned with the analysis, treatment, and prevention of human psychological disabilities with the enhancement of personal adjustment and effectiveness.


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