The Difference Between a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, and Counsellor


Looking for therapy in Singapore? You’ve come to the right place! While you might feel lost or unsure about your next steps, you are precisely where you need to be. Getting professional help is always a good idea. You wouldn’t be shy to have a stylist cut your hair or ask an optometrist to check your eyes. Going to a mental health professional is a smart and necessary way to ensure good lifelong mental health. 

While searching for mental health help in Singapore, you might come across a wide array of options (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, etc.). To help you get started on your journey to mental well-being, it’s helpful to be familiar with a few key terms and essential steps.

Here is your guide to finding the right mental health professional in Singapore. 

What kind of mental healthcare is available in Singapore?

Getting started on the journey to mental health can be overwhelming. With various mental health professionals offering different specialisation, we could be spoiled for choice at the extensive repertoire. That’s why at A Kind Place, we aim to take the stress out of mental health treatment. 

We offer (free!) and easy consultations with no-obligations, to help you in your journey to choose the right path for you. There are options for everyone on our full list of mental health services, which include anxiety counselling, relationship counselling, counselling for men, counselling for women, grief counselling, corporate wellness, and special needs coaching. You choose your focus, then you choose your specialist. 

Should I see a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor?

So, what exactly is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and counsellor? This is one of our most frequently asked questions and it is one that you will want to understand as you get started on your journey to better mental health. Let’s dig into the definitions. 

What does a Psychologist do?

There are many different types of psychologists, but the ones I’m referring to in this article are Clinical psychologists. Clinical psychologists in Singapore are Master/PhD graduates who are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders. Clinical psychologists can conduct psychological assessments for clients, and typically provide talk therapy for clients. (This is me!)

What does a Psychiatrist do?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are legally licensed to give mental health prescriptions in Singapore. A psychiatrist doesn’t typically provide ongoing talk therapy so many clients will work with a psychologist for ongoing therapy as well as a psychiatrist to manage medical treatment.  

What do Counsellors do?

Like psychologists, counsellors also have a master’s degree and provide ongoing talk therapy. Counsellors and psychologists alike are experts in listening and helping clients achieve their goals. They both work with a variety of therapeutic orientations like CBT therapy. Either mental health professional can perform diagnosis and assessments.  

The key difference between a counsellor and a psychologist is in the clients they serve and whether they can conduct assessments and provide a diagnosis. While a counsellor will work with less severe issues, a psychologist works with a broader range of mental health issues and more severe mental health conditions. A counsellor cannot conduct assessments and provide a diagnosis whereas a psychologist can.

Here’s an image to sum it up:

Psychologist psychiatrist counsellor
Psychologist psychiatrist counsellor Singapore

How do I get started with a mental health professional in Singapore?

As you probably already know, the hardest part of getting mental health services is taking that first step. That’s why we make it easy. You can email us or chat on WhatsApp to set up a free 15-minute no-obligation chat. In this initial conversation, you can determine if the therapist is the right fit for you.

To see your full list of options for counsellors, psychologists, and counsellors at A Kind Place, you can take a look at our full team listing. You can chat with any and all of our professionals to help you decide who is the best fit for you. 

Psychologist vs psychiatrist vs counsellor therapy cost in Singapore 

The cost of therapy depends on the professional that you choose. Our team includes all types of mental health professionals with a range of experience levels and appointment types. While the cost of mental healthcare varies by need, we believe it’s essential to be transparent and let you know exactly what to expect. 

Our current prices for mental health services are as follows:

Online mental health services:

Counsellor-in-training: $60/hr

Counsellors: $110/hr

Psychologists: $160/hr

Senior Psychologist: $210/hr

In-person mental health services: 

Counsellor-in-training: $100/hr

Counsellors: $150/hr

Psychologists: $200/hr

Senior Psychologist: $250/hr

Can’t afford therapy right now? We are here to help. A tight budget should never be a reason to delay mental health treatment. We offer discounted payment options to those who need them. Just email us or chat with us on WhatsApp to discuss options for your unique case. 

How to choose the right psychologist or counsellor in Singapore?

Counselling is a private relationship between you and your counsellor. Searching for a counsellor who is a good fit is not easy. It’s just like searching for a partner. There are so many counsellors and psychologists out there, so how do you know if you’ve met the right one?

A counsellor is someone who you need to feel comfortable with, someone who you feel connected with, someone who you can trust and is willing to feel vulnerable with. When you speak to this person, you feel like they understand you, they know what you’re saying, and that they are actually listening and hearing you.

Best psychologist in singapore
Best psychologist in singapore


  1. Do your homework: Do a Google search, talk to friends, and ask for recommendations from counsellors or psychologists. Write down a list of potential people who you might want to see.
  2. Do a Google search on the people on your list. What are their specialities? Can they help you with what you are going through? How do they conduct therapy?
  3. Find out their rates. Before diving head into counselling, know what you can afford. You do not want to be paying for therapy and not be able to afford your next meal. In Singapore, the typical rate for a psychologist in private practice is anything from $180 all the way to $400.
  4. Reach out. Some therapists are open to doing a 15-minute consultation or an email consultation. Drop them a message or an email. See if you feel comfortable with them during your initial interaction.
  5. In-person or online? Whichever your preference, check whether your therapist is comfortable using that means of conducting therapy with you.
  6. Prepare to share about yourself in the first session, the therapist wants to know you, just as you want to know the therapist
  7. Schedule your first session with your counsellor or psychologist – this does not mean you’re stuck with the person. This is a good time for you to get a feel of whether you are comfortable working with this counsellor or psychologist Sometimes the first session might be OK, but after the 2nd or 3rd you do not feel a connection, that is OK, just let your counsellor or psychologist know.
  8. If you do not feel the connection, start over from step 2, using the list that you’ve collected in step 1.


  1. Do not stick to a counsellor or psychologist with who you feel uncomfortable with or who you do not feel connected. Counselling is your time, you are paying for it, and it is supposed to help you.
  2. Do not give up even if you don’t find the right counsellor or psychologist on the first try.
  3. Do not be afraid to reach out. If you ever feel like dropping us a message, we would definitely reply to you, even if the first counsellor is not the best fit for you, we would be happy to refer you to someone else who might be!

How do you make an appointment with a psychologist or counsellor in Singapore?

In Singapore, there are 2 routes: The public and private routes.

To see a private psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor, you do NOT need a referral from a GP. You can contact them directly to set a session up.

For public services, you will have to go to the polyclinic to get a referral to see a psychologist, counsellor, or psychiatrist.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop us an email at or WhatsApp us here.

Which therapists offer online counselling?

As we work together to create the best approach for your mental health, you’ll also want to decide if you prefer in-person or online counselling. Our psychologists and counsellors offer online sessions because we believe there should be no barriers to getting help. 

Note: Currently, Amanda Yeo offers only online sessions while Mandd Fernando offers only in-person sessions.

People often ask us if in-person or online counselling is better. The truth is that it depends on you and your lifestyle. If you’ve got a hectic schedule, commuting to a therapy office in central Singapore can be needlessly stressful. On the other hand, some people find that they find they connect better when they are face-to-face with a mental health professional. 

Choosing in-person sessions vs online sessions is a personal preference. You can try both options and see which fits best. Not sure where to start? Schedule a chat with us so we can better understand your needs and provide you with a recommendation. 

Remember, mental health therapy is for you. It’s essential to find the option that works best for you. That’s why we offer the flexibility to change from online sessions to in-person and vice versa.

Prefer an in-person option but can’t get to the therapist’s office? Ask us about our in-home therapy sessions.

Finding the best therapy in Singapore

Whether you are on a mission to find the best psychologist in Singapore or simply connect with the right counsellor for you, it all starts with a chat. Here at A Kind Place, we offer 15-minute consultations with our therapists to help you decide on the right option for you. 

Ready to meet your goals and get on the path to better well-being?  Email us or chat with us on WhatsApp to get started today.

Our team specialise in various fields such as marriage counselling and hypnotherapy sessions. We also offer corporate wellness programs for companies interested in boosting employees’ morale.

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