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Sometimes you may need therapy for different reasons, but it's not always easy to know where to go. Here we explain what a therapist is and how you can get help.

Who is a therapist?

A therapist is a professional who works to help people deal with mental, emotional, behavioral or relational problems and syndromes. Therapists can have different educational backgrounds and specialisations, and the term can cover a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and social workers.

Accreditation as a psychotherapist generally requires at least seven years of training comprising a primary degree, and four years part-time training in one of the psychotherapeutic disciplines, and later, accreditation from a relevant Irish body. Professional trainings are provided in both the training institutes and Universities in Ireland. There are many problems that can be improved with the help of therapy.

What is the difference between therapists?

The difference between therapists depends on their training, specialisation and treatment methods:

  • Licensed psychologists have undergone five years of professional training as a psychologist and have done service before being licensed by the Psychological Society of Ireland. They can assess, diagnose and treat mental and behavioral problems with talk therapy.
  • Licensed psychotherapists are an advanced training course in psychotherapy for doctors, psychologists and social workers and aim to help with emotional and mental disorders. It is a licensed professional group according to the Irish Council of Psychotherapy.
  • Psychiatrists are trained doctors who can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medication.
  • Health care counselor: Is a licensed profession where you first complete a social work program with an internship and then offer therapy and counseling to deal with social and personal problems.
  • A coach specialises in specific areas such as relationships or careers and offers goal-oriented therapy and support.

The choice of therapist may depend on the client’s specific needs and preferences regarding the treatment method and problem area.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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Click here to view all psychologists, therapists, and coaches.

What can a therapist help with?

A therapist can help with a wide range of mental, emotional, behavioral and relational problems. Here are some examples of what a therapist can help with:

  1. Anxiety and depression: Therapists often work with clients suffering from anxiety, depression and other affective problems, offering strategies to manage symptoms and exploring the underlying causes of these feelings.
  2. Stress management: They may offer techniques and strategies to manage stress and improve the client’s ability to cope with life’s stresses.
  3. Sleep problems: Therapists can help with sleep problems and insomnia, which is the diagnosis for more severe sleep problems.
  4. Relationship problems: Therapy offers a space to work through problems in relationships, whether in couple relationships, family dynamics or problems in relationships with friends or colleagues.
  5. Self-esteem and self-image: Therapists help individuals work on issues related to low self-esteem and negative self-image to promote a more positive self-perception.
  6. Crises and life changes: They can assist people who are struggling with behavioral issues or who are facing major life changes, such as career change, loss, or big decisions.
  7. Trauma and PTSD: Specialized therapists work with clients who have experienced trauma and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  8. Addiction and abuse: Therapists can provide support and treatment for people struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other behavioral problems.
  9. Eating disorders: They can help people with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating to understand and treat the underlying psychological causes of their behavior.
  10. Personal development: Therapy can also be a tool for personal development, helping individuals to better understand themselves, develop personal strengths and work towards their goals.

Therapists adapt their treatment based on the client’s unique needs and goals, and they may use different therapeutic techniques and methods to help their clients improve their mental and emotional well-being.


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How do I know which therapist to choose?

The choice of therapist depends on the specific needs of the client, the therapeutic orientation of the therapist, and the professional background and skills of the therapist. There is research showing that some methods are better than others for specific problem areas, so it is important to find a form that works. It is also important for clients to feel comfortable with their therapist and that there is a sense of trust, as this is fundamental to a successful therapeutic process.

How does a therapist work?

Therapists use different methods and techniques to help their clients, depending on their specific needs and problems. These can include talk therapy, behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, ACT therapy and many other forms of therapy.

The goal of therapy is often to help the client understand and process their emotions, improve their relationships, develop healthier patterns of behavior, and increase their overall well-being.



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12 common questions and answers about therapists

What is a therapist?

A therapist is a professional who works to help people deal with mental, emotional, behavioral or relational problems and syndromes.

Who is a therapist?

Therapists can have different educational backgrounds and specialisations, and the term can cover a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and social workers.

Is therapist a protected title?

No, the term therapist is not protected, which means that anyone can call themselves a therapist, but a licensed professional category is protected by several regulated organisations in Ireland.

What does legitimation mean?

Legitimation means that there is patient safety in the treatment and that you need to work according to the methods that, according to research, have shown good results.

What is a psychologist?

Licensed psychologists have completed many years of professional training and service before being licensed by Irish accreditation bodies. They can assess, diagnose and treat mental and behavioral problems with talk therapy.

What is a psychotherapist?

A licensed psychotherapist is a postgraduate qualification in psychotherapy for doctors, psychologists and social workers and aims to help with emotional and psychological problems. It is a licensed professional group according to the Irish Psychological Society of Ireland.

What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are trained doctors who can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medication.

What is a health care counselor?

A health care counsellor is a licensed professional who first completes a social work program and then offers therapy and counselling to deal with social and personal problems.

What is a coach?

Coaches specialise in specific areas such as relationships or careers and provide targeted therapy and support.

What can a therapist help with?

A therapist can help with a wide range of mental, emotional, behavioral and relationship problems. Read more in the text above.

How do therapists work?

Therapists use different methods and techniques to help their clients. These can include talk therapy, behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, couples therapy and other forms of therapy.

Where can I seek help?

If you want to seek therapy, we recommend that you contact a licensed psychologist or therapist. You can book a first appointment with one of our therapists here at Lavendla. We make the hard things easier.

Treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy

Treatment approaches can differ between different schools of therapy. This is what a treatment can look like with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a method that can be used for many different problem areas and conditions:

Understanding and assessment

The first step is to understand the problem and that it is okay to seek help for it. A licensed psychologist can help you assess your situation based on your life situation. You can also fill in assessment forms.

Psychoeducation and objectives

You will learn about the problem and how it affects you both physically and mentally. It is important to understand what is happening in your body, thoughts and feelings. It also involves setting goals for treatment.

Tools to change behaviors and patterns

This works on identifying and changing patterns of thinking that are linked to the problem. This will help you develop a more nuanced picture and increase your ability to manage emotions, thoughts and change behaviors. Together with your therapist, you will explore situations and learn how to deal with them. You will also be given homework to practice between sessions.

Follow up and evaluate progress

You will have support from your psychologist throughout the process. At the end of the treatment, you will also receive a plan to continue practicing and maintain your progress over time. Feel free to book a first session with one of our licensed psychologists or therapists to see how we can help you.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.