Related professions

There are some related professions that are associated with psychology. These include:


An umbrella term covering a range of talking therapies such a cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and person-centred therapy.

Counselling is a way of exploring the thoughts and feelings that may be causing difficulties in your life. There are a number of recognised but distinct methods of counselling. These have developed from a theoretical base but not necessarily one that incorporates psychology.

Counselling psychologists, many of whom belong to the British Psychological Society, offer counselling, but they also have training in scientific areas of psychology. There are no legal minimum qualifications necessary to practise as a counsellor in the UK but many counsellors are members of a relevant professional association. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy has a list of accredited counsellors.


A specialist area of medicine including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research of mental disorders. Psychiatrists have a medical degree and further specialised training in psychiatry.

Psychiatry differs to psychology in that it approaches emotional and behavioural problems using a medical model and treatments. Because they have medical training, psychiatrists can also prescribe drugs to alleviate distress (something other psychology-related professionals cannot do).

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional and educational body for psychiatrists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.


Psychotherapy is the practice of alleviating psychological distress through discussion between client and therapist – indeed, it is often referred to as 'talking therapy'. There are many types of psychotherapy and many ways of being trained.

Psychotherapy is a cooperative process dependent on the therapist and client working together to both understand a client’s distress and to find ways forward suited to his or her personal circumstances and resources.

Psychologists specialising in psychotherapy work with those experiencing problems as a consequence of a wide range of life events (including loss, trauma, work stress and relationship difficulties).

The British Psychological Society believes psychotherapy is best regarded as a further qualification for someone already working as a psychologist, psychiatrist or in another mental health profession.
The Society operates a Register of Psychologists Specialising in Psychotherapy.

The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) also publish registers listing approved psychotherapists.

Many individual forms of therapy have their own qualifications and professional bodies. For example, the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) and the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).


This is a form of psychotherapy based on the work of Sigmund Freud and explores the idea that unconscious conflicts of feeling and emotion can lie at the root of symptoms and problems. See the British Psychoanalytical Council for further information.

You may also hear of psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy, which draw on the theories of psychoanalysis. Many psychologists and psychotherapists make use of these insights in their practice.

Life coaching

Coaching encompasses techniques to help clients make improvements in their life and achieve personal goals. There are no legal minimum qualifications to become a coach, although there are a number of self-appointed accreditation bodies.

The Society has a group dedicated to the psychology of coaching, the Special Group in Coaching Psychology.