Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional

Deciding to seek help from a mental health professional is a significant step towards prioritizing your well-being. However, the process can feel overwhelming, especially when trying to determine which professional is the right fit for you. Let’s make this process a little easy for you by understanding the type of mental health professionals, their specializations and the differences between them.

All mental health professionals are dedicated to supporting your mental well-being and addressing your concerns, each mental health professional has unique training and possesses distinct areas of expertise and therapeutic approaches. Let’s take a look at these expertise and differences.

In this article we shall understand different kinds of mental health professionals with reference to Indian context and legal system.


Types of Mental Health Professionals


Master’s degree (M.A. or MSc.) in psychology and/or a diploma in Counselling Psychology

Master’s degree with (M.A./MSc.) and MPhil in Clinical Psychology

Medical doctors MBBS and MD/DNB/DPM in Psychiatry

Regulation and Licensing

Allied and Healthcare Professions Act, 2021

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

State Medical Bodies


Stress, problems, transitions, challenges of life requiring help. Personal growth and emotional well-being.

Psychiatric disorders and disabilities Rehabilitation post remission

Psychiatric disorders and disabilities Psychiatric emergency such as suicide, intoxication, etc.

Modes of Treatments

Counselling and psychotherapy

Assessments and psychotherapy

Medication and counselling


Private practice, hospital, school and college counselling centres

Private practice and hospital

Private practice and hospitals

It’s also worth noting that the counselling psychologist and clinical psychologist often overlap, and many mental health professionals may have training and experience in both clinical and counselling psychology. Ultimately, the main difference between clinical and counselling psychologists is the focus of their training and practice. Moreover, it’s important to note that these professionals often work collaboratively, depending on the specific needs, nature of the challenges, and expected outcomes for the client. They may consult and coordinate with each other to provide comprehensive and holistic support.

Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional

After gaining an understanding of the nuances associated with different types of mental health professionals, the next crucial step is to choose the right professional who aligns with your specific needs and goals.

  1. Identify your needs:

Consider your specific needs and the nature of the challenges you’re facing. What are you approaching therapy for?

  • Counsellor is more suitable for personal growth, emotional well-being, improving mental health, stress, emotional distress, relationships, and adjustment issues.
  • Clinical psychologist or psychiatrist is more suitable for suspected/diagnosed mental illness based on symptom nature, severity, and medication readiness.
  • If there are emergencies such as drug withdrawal, suicidal ideation or attempt, etc. and your functioning has been severely deteriorated, visiting a psychiatrist is must.

Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional:

2. Features of the therapist:

 Factors of therapists such as qualifications, license, therapy style, cultural compatibility, and personal preferences are important aspects to be considered.

  • Verify professionals’ necessary qualifications such as a relevant degree, certifications and licensing to ensures that they have had the required training and standards of education for practicing.
  • Therapy styles can vary significantly such as short-term, solution-focused therapy, long-term, exploratory approaches that you can identify and align with your needs.
  • Cultural compatibility means therapist understands diverse backgrounds, values, beliefs. Find therapist with relevant experience for better understanding of your unique experiences.

3. Personal Preferences:

  • Consider personal preferences such as the gender, age, or other characteristics of the therapist that may contribute to your comfort and sense of connection during therapy sessions.
  • Reflect on preferred therapy style: direct vs. gentle, practical strategies vs. deeper exploration, or a therapist who emphasizes validation and support emphasis.

Finding the right mental health professional can make a significant difference in your journey towards improved well-being. Take your time, ask questions, and trust your instincts. 

You can reach out to us at Butterfly Psychotherapy Center and opt for our free introductory call and we can guide you through this process of choosing the right mental health professional. 

Pranita Date
Assistant Counselling Psychologist
Butterfly Psychotherapy Center

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