What is the difference between a
psychologist and social worker?

  • Both Psychologists and Social Workers have completed a minimum of 6 years of training and education.
  • Both roles work to help people learn to cope more effectively with life issues and people’s mental health.
  • The therapies used during appointments can be same (for example CBT, Neurofeedback, EMDR, DBT)
  • Their continued professional development courses are attended by clinicians from either role.

If you noticed this list did not contain any differences between a Psychologist and Mental Health Social Work it is because the differences are very subtle. The Social Work degree has a strong focus on understanding the person in the context of their environment. This involves conceptualising the person in the context of individual, social, family and cultural systems (among others) to work respectfully, holistically, to provide assessments and interventions for people with complex presentations. Whilst, broadly speaking, the Psychology degree has a strong focus on providing assessment, analysis and therapy to clients, to help facilitate organisational or social change, conduct psychological research, or administer psychological support and tests to individuals or groups, write reports for individuals, education and forensic settings, health and government departments.

Whichever type of therapist, you should expect the same quality of care, ethical behaviour and standards of practice.

Page Last Updated: 10 November 2020