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Types of Support

At NeuroDirect we value choice and transparency. We want to ensure that you find the right
professional for you, so we have put together information below to shed some insight into their
expertise. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a starting point to help your decision process.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Psychologists are mental health professionals who specialise in assessments, diagnosis
and psychological treatments. They work with a range of conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Personality Disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental Conditions
  • Addictions
  • Trauma
  • Executive dysfunction
  • Family or personal relationship issues

A clinical psychologist would typically go through years of education and training and would hold
a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (DClinpsych). They work in a variety of settings
including hospitals (NHS), private practices, and academic institutions and would often interact
with other departments to receive referrals from various professionals such as doctors,
therapists, social workers and nurses. They utilise a range of evidence-based assessment
techniques including:

  • Clinical interviews
  • Standardised questionnaires
  • Cognitive assessments and psychometric tests
  • Observation of behaviour (this sometimes includes observations at schools)

Assessments may lead to therapeutic interventions by the same clinical psychologist or another
qualified professional they refer the client to. Clinical psychologists in the UK are usually trained
in a range of therapeutic models. Post-qualification, they then may specialise in a specific
therapeutic model but typically continue to work integrative manner. This is what makes therapy
with a clinical psychologist different to a therapist that is trained in one modality. Models that the
clinical psychologist are usually trained in consist of the following:

  • Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Or other various psychotherapeutic approaches

Clinical psychologists are not qualified to prescribe medication as only a qualified prescriber is
able to do this (e.g., psychiatrist, pharmacist, nurse) is allowed to do so. Clinical psychologists
support the client with emotional and behavioural interventions and will never prescribe medical
interventions. Should medication be recommended, they will refer the client to an appropriate
medical professional.

Clinical Psychologists must be registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council
(HCPC) before they can practice in the UK. The title ‘practitioner psychologist’ is the generic
title which can be used by any HCPC registered psychologist. The title ‘Clinical psychologist’ is
a protected title and only a registered psychologist that meets the HCPC criteria for a clinical
psychologist can use the title legally. You will see that some clinical psychologists’ are also
registered with a professional body such as the British Psychological Society (BPS) or the
Association of Clinical Psychologists (ACP)

Occupational Therapist

An Occupational Therapist (OT) is a healthcare specialist who helps clients of all ages learn or
re-learn the skills needed for daily life such as self-care, executive function skills, and becoming
as independent as possible. They work with clients who have physical, executive, behavioural
or developmental challenges that can impact their day-to-day activities. The interventions an OT
can provide include:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation where they work to improve executive skills like attention,
    problem solving and memory.
  • Physical rehabilitation where they help clients physical injuries improve mobility,
    strength, balance and coordination through exercises and assistive devices.
  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL) where they can assist clients with developmental or
    sustained injuries develop skills important for daily living like hygiene, eating and
    household tasks. They can also introduce assistive technology to help clients perform
    daily activities more independently.
  • Sensory Integration Therapy (SI). An OT can help with sensory processing difficulties
    and they can understand what sensorily bothersome things need to be removed or
    sensorily helpful things added. They also specialise in Sensory Diets.

An occupational therapist may work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals (NHS),
schools, rehabilitation centres and mental health practices. They often collaborate with other
healthcare professionals to ensure all-rounded care for the client. An OT will typically hold a

degree in occupational therapy and be licenced by the Health and Care Professionals Council
(HCPC) before they can practice in the UK.

Counsellor

A counsellor is a registered therapist who provides emotional and psychological support to
individuals who are experiencing the following issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Divorce of relationship difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Emotional difficulties
  • Illnesses
  • Unemployment or job uncertainty

Counsellors may specialise in many different therapeutic approaches and it is important that
clients find one that is compatible with their needs. The roles of a counsellor would usually
include the following:

  • Providing various talking therapies to support emotional wellbeing
  • Conducting assessments in order to understand a client’s needs or goals
  • Providing psychoeducation about mental health and coping and self-care skills
  • Help clients develop strategies to improve self-esteem or communication skills
  • Refer clients to other specialists like psychologists, social workers or psychiatrists if
    additional support is needed

A counsellor would typically have a qualification within an appropriate field such as psychology,
nursing, education or social work that is British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
(BACP) approved.

Speech & Language Therapist

A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) is a healthcare professional who specialises in
assessing, diagnosing and treating communication and swallowing (dysphagia) conditions. The
conditions they tend to work with include:

  • Neurodevelopmental language conditions
  • Learning difficulties
  • Hearing impairments
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Selective mutism
  • Stammering
  • Voice conditions
  • Dysphagia

The roles of an SLT usually involves the following:

  • Assessing and diagnosing clients of all ages who have issues with communication,
    speech and swallowing using a series of standardised tests, interviews and school
    observations.
  • Being involved in the diagnostic assessment of children and adults with suspected
    autism.
  • Treating clients by developing Personalised Intervention Plans (PIP) and working to
    improve speech production, language comprehension and expression, fluency, social
    communication skills and swallowing and drinking skills.

SLTs work in a wide range of settings including hospitals (NHS), schools, homes and private
practices. They would typically have a degree in a relevant subject approved by the Royal
College of Speech and Language Therapists
(RCSLT) to ensure professional standards.

Consultant Psychiatrist

A consultant psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating
individuals with mental health issues. They can provide both medical and therapeutic
interventions. Consultant psychiatrists are highly experienced and tend to attain senior roles
within the healthcare system. Their roles include:

  • Assessing and diagnosing clients of all ages using comprehensive assessments to
    understand a client’s symptoms and impact on their daily life.
  • Providing personalised treatment plans for their clients which may involves various
    therapeutic and medical interventions
  • Providing medication where needed as they are also licensed medical doctors. This
    allows them to prescribe and monitor the use of psychiatric medications for mental
    health conditions and neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD.

Psychiatrists treat many psychological conditions including:

  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Addiction
  • Eating Disorders
  • Insomnia and sleep disorders

Consultant psychiatrists work in various settings including hospitals, mental health practices and
clinics. They usually collaborate with many other health professionals to ensure clients receive
comprehensive care. A Psychiatrist typically has a degree in medicine and an additional 8 years
of training and be on the General Medical Council (GMC) register.

Coach

A coach is a professional who provides support, guidance and motivation to individuals of all
ages. A coach works with clients to help them improve an understanding of themselves and
develop coping strategies for various aspects of life. There are many different types of coaches
available and some of the work they focus on can include the following:

  • Mental health
  • Neurodevelopmental support
  • Self-Esteem/ life coaching
  • Health and Wellness
  • Business support

Coaches can provide detailed psychoeducation to help teach clients about their symptoms,
how to treat them, build resilience and self-care strategies. They can also provide resources to
help clients understand their experiences and create a safe space for them to share them.
Coaches can also assist clients in identifying goals and find ways to develop steps to achieve
those goals using a strength-based approach.

Coaches work in a variety of settings including private practices, organisations or in association
with other healthcare professionals. Coaching is a relatively new field and unlike in other fields
is not regulated in the same way as clinical professions like psychiatrists or therapists.
Therefore, it is important to find a coach who has the appropriate qualifications and training.

Nutritionist

A nutritionist is a health expert in food and nutrition and works to help others achieve their
health goals through providing advice and setting goals. Nutritionists assess clients’ dietary
habits, health and lifestyle to identify areas of concern. They provide advice on healthy eating
habits and help clients understand the relationship between health and diet. They also help
clients develop and monitor personalised meal plans to align with the clients goals and use tools
like food diaries and taking measurements.

Registered Nutritionists are regulated by the Association for Nutrition (AfN) and have the
required professional training however, the title “nutritionist” is not a protected title in the UK and
therefore it is important to find one who has the appropriate qualification and training. It is
important to note that nutritionists are not qualified to work with individuals to manage eating
disorders as only dieticians are.

Dietician

A dietician is a healthcare professional who specialises in the science and practice of nutrition.
Similar to a nutritionist they provide evidence-based guidance and support for food and nutrition
The role of a dietician usually involves the following:

  • Assessing client’s nutritional needs, health and habits to identify any nutritional
    deficiencies using interviews, tests and medical records.
  • Providing dietary recommendations and interventions to manage or prevent health
    conditions.
  • Providing meal plans and promoting healthier eating habits using existing knowledge of
    the client’s lifestyle and habits
  • Some dieticians may specialise in specific areas like geriatrics, sports nutrition, weight
    management and paediatrics.
  • Dieticians are qualified to work with individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia
    and bulimia.

Dieticians work in various settings such as hospitals, private practices, food industries and
catering. Dieticians would have degrees in nutrition or dietetics and are registered with the
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to ensure specific standards and ethical practice.

Clinical Neuropsychologist

A clinical neuropsychologist is a healthcare professional who specialises in understanding the
relationship between the brain and behaviour in individuals who have suffered brain injury or
other neurological diseases. To become a clinical neuropsychologist, a clinical psychologist has
to undertake an additional masters degree. Their clinical work overlaps with academic
neuropsychology to provide support and understanding towards the relationship between the
brain and neuropsychological function. They work with clients of all ages who suffer from a
range of conditions including:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Strokes
  • Tumours
  • Learning difficulties
  • Neurodevelopmental conditions

Their roles typically involve the following:

  • Assessing and diagnosing using comprehensive assessments and a range of
    standardised tests and interviews to assess cognitive skills, perception and social skills
    to diagnose clients.
  • They can deploy rehabilitation programs and interventions and provide support for
    clients to regain or improve cognitive function, coping strategies or adjust to changes in
    their lifestyles

Neuropsychologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals (NHS), rehabilitation
centres, private practices and clinics and academic institutions. They often collaborate with
other healthcare professionals to ensure clients receive comprehensive care. They typically hold
doctorates in clinical psychology or neuropsychology (PhD or PsyD) and undergo extensive
training and clinical experience. It is important to note, that the title ‘neuropsychologist’ is not
protected in the UK and therefore any professional can use it. However, the title ‘clinical
neuropsychologist’ is protected and only allowed to be used by somebody with the appropriate
qualification, so this is something to look out for.