Which type of mental health practitioner do I need?


Educational psychologists work with children and adolescents, assisting in their psychological adjustment and development. They operate within the contexts of family, school, peer groups and communities, and are able to conduct and interpret scholastic and psychometric tests. They hold Master’s Degrees in Educational Psychology and are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Industrial psychologists operate within the work place, applying the principles of psychology to enhance the well-being and effectiveness of individuals and organisations. They hold Master’s Degrees in Industrial Psychology and are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Counselling psychologists treat people dealing with normal life challenges, such as the loss of a job or divorce. They hold Master’s Degrees in Counselling Psychology and are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Clinical psychologists treat people with relatively serious kinds of psychological distress, like depression or anxiety disorders. They hold Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Occupational therapists treat people with physical or mental impairments, helping them to achieve independence in their lives. They hold Bachelor’s Degrees in Occupational Therapy and are registered with the Board for Occupational Therapists, Medical Orthotists/Prosthetists and Art Therapists.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialised in the treatment of mental illness. They often use medication to treat their patients, but are also able to offer psychotherapy. They are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa under the specialist register.


Psychometrists administer psychological tests which aim to 'measure' functions such as cognition (often referred to as IQ or intelligence tests), interest (for example career assessments) and personality. The results are usually interpreted by a psychologist or psychiatrist to better understand the clients attitudes, abilities, medical condition or suitability in the workplace. Psychometrists hold an honours degree in research psychology and are registered with the HPCSA.


Registered counsellors perform basic counselling for people who are looking to improve their personal functioning. They can also assess to see if a client need more in depth psychological treatment and refer them to the appropriate practitioner. Registered councillors hold honours degrees in psychology.


Social workers work with individuals, as well as families and communities, to develop treatment plans for people with mental health problems. They may work either in private practice or in collaboration with other healthcare professions. They hold Bachelor’s of Arts Degrees and are registered with the South African Council for Service Professions.