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One of the most common questions I’m asked when I tell people I’m a psychologist is “what’s the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist and other mental health service providers such as counsellors or therapists?”  If you don’t know the difference you’re not alone! This can make deciding which professional will best suit your needs difficult.  Here are some of the key differences between psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and therapists.

In Manitoba, the title of psychologist is protected by law and reserved for individuals who hold a doctoral degree, pass both a written and oral licensing exam and must have worked under the supervision of a more senior psychologist for a certain period of time. This entire process is quite extensive and typically requires 10 years of university.  While some psychologists pursue an academic or research career, others go on to register as a psychologist with the Psychological Association of Manitoba and then receive the title of Registered Psychologist.  They continually renew their registration and licensing on an annual basis and complete continuous training throughout their careers.   Registered clinical psychologists are able to complete comprehensive psychological assessments of clients, diagnose, provide treatment for diagnoseable disorders as well as address mental health concerns such as emotional and psychological struggles that are interfering with the quality of life an individual wants to lead.  Psychologists do not prescribe medication. There is only one profession granted permission to use term psychologist without a doctoral degree; this being a school psychologist, who typically holds a Masters degree.

Psychiatrists are medical physicians who first receive their medical degree, then go on to complete a residency in psychiatry specializing in psychiatric problems and mental health.  Psychiatrists are unique as they are the only mental health professional that can prescribe medication to clients.   For this reason, your GP may prefer to refer you to see a psychiatrist if medication becomes a part of your individual treatment plan.  Psychiatrists often work in hospital settings or in a setting linked with the health care system (I.e. Community Mental Health, psychiatric centres), however some psychiatrists also have therapy-based practices, particularly those in private practice.

 Counsellors and Therapists
Many counsellors have a bachelor’s degree which takes approximately 3- 4 years of university to complete.  Many also go on to complete a master’s degree.  Counsellors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and the term may be used by many professions across different fields such as social work, psychiatric nursing, occupational therapy, guidance counsellors, etc.    Counsellors can be found working in a variety of settings from private practice to government-funded community and hospital programs.  Many also provide counselling and therapy services related to mental health concerns and mental illness.   Although the term “counselor” or “therapist” is not regulated across many provinces in Canada, many employers require certain qualifications before they hire an individual to fill a mental health provider role.  

Buyer beware:
Being able to help others is an aspiration for many.  Unfortunately, not everyone who claims to provide counselling or therapy is qualified or capable of doing so.    If you are in doubt, it is appropriate to ask any mental health professional about the education they received, and if they are licensed by their regulating provincial body.   For individuals who have spent years going through the proper training and licensing requirements, this is a source of pride and they would be happy to share the information with you! 


$215.00 per 50-minute session.


Payment is made by cash, cheque, credit card or email transfer at the time of each appointment and a detailed receipt is provided. If you have insurance, you will be able to submit the receipt to your insurance provider.

Services may be covered in full or part by your health insurance or employee assistance plan. Most extended health benefits plans provide at least partial coverage but you should still check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits for registered psychologists?
  • How many sessions per year does my insurance cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per person or per family member?
  • Is a referral required from my primary care physician?

Services not covered by extended health plans but rather paid out of pocket are deductible as a medical expense on your federal tax return.


If an appointment is canceled with less than 48 hours' notice, the full session fee will be charged.  Monday appointments must be canceled by 5 PM on Thursday evening to avoid a late cancellation charge.   It is important to note that most insurance companies do not provide reimbursement for canceled sessions.


Dr. Darichuk provides day-time ‘elective’ care and this means I don’t have the resources to provide care outside of business hours, on weekends or evenings.  If an emergency issue arises, please contact your local crisis line, the Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

In our area

Brandon/ Assiniboine:

Adult crisis line 24/7: 1-888-379-7699

Youth Under 18 crisis line 24/7: 1-866-403-5459

Crisis Stabilization Unit: 1-855-222-6011 or (204) 727-2555

Mobile Crisis Services: 204-725-4411


Parkland Area:

Adult and Youth Crisis Line, (24/7):  1-866-332-3030


Interlake Area
24 hour Crisis Line:  204-482-5419 or 1-866-427-8628
Mobile Crisis Services:  204-482-5376 or 1-877-499-8770


Northern Region:

Thompson Youth (17 and under) Mobile Crisis Team:  1-866-242-1571
Mobile Team hours 2 pm-2 am, 7 days/ week
Assessment at Thompson Hospital ER, Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30:  204-778-1472
*No community youth mental health crisis services available in Flin Flon and the Pas. Please attend the Emergency Department in case of crisis.


Province-Wide Crisis Lines

Klinic Crisis Line

204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019

TTY 204-784-4097

Manitoba Suicide Line "Reason to Live"
1-877-435-7170 (1-877-HELP170)

Kids Help Phone (national line available to Manitoba Youth)

Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line
204-786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565
TTY 204-784-4097

Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services - online counselling
1-866-367-3276 (hours Mon-Fri 10 am to 9 pm)

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
Counselling available in English and French - upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktut