Mental health symptoms are not easy to define. If you are dealing with them for the first time and want to seek help, you may also be wondering where to start. Which counselor is right for my symptoms? Do I go to a therapist or a psychiatrist? How does psychological counseling work and how do I get to the right counselor?

What does a therapist do?

A therapist holds a university master’s degree in psychology. This may have chosen different majors or specializations, but what therapists have in common is that they focus primarily on the connection between human behavior and mental health. In their treatment, most therapists then use various interviewing techniques or cognitive behavioral therapy.

What does a psychiatrist do?

A psychiatrist has studied medicine and graduated as a medical doctor with a specialization in psychiatry. Therefore, a psychiatrist views mental illness more from a medical perspective, considering the health of the rest of the body as well. Because a psychiatrist is a physician, he or she may also prescribe medication. Psychiatrists therefore often treat patients with severe or complex mental health problems, such as patients with schizophrenia, major depression, or psychosis. The treatment is often long-term and intensive.

Which mental health counselor is right for me?

If you have never received psychological help before, you will usually first see a therapist. Which therapist can offer you an appropriate treatment, depends on your individual problems and the specialization of the therapist. The Online Therapists employs all kinds of different therapists so that, on the basis of an intake interview, we can match you with the right therapist.

A counselor for every problem

For example, a cognitive behavioral therapist is appropriate if you are experiencing behavioral problems or obstructive thought patterns. A couples therapist can help you well with relationship problems. An occupational therapist offers support for work-related psychological complaints. And if you suffer from past trauma, an EMDR therapist may be able to help you.


Together with the therapist, you determine which treatment is right for you. If the therapist thinks it is necessary, you may be put in touch with a psychiatrist. This happens, for example, when the therapist makes a diagnosis for which medication is prescribed, such as autism, ADHD, depression, or psychosis. For treatment from a psychiatrist, you need a referral from a therapist.

Don’t worry about choosing the right counselor. At The Online Therapists, you will be matched with a suitable therapist based on your story. This is the starting point. If you don’t ‘click’ with your therapist, or if it appears that you need a different treatment, you will easily be referred. So you always get the appropriate help!


Want to get to know us first?

Request an online consultation with one of our trusted online therapists.

    Hi! How can we help you?