A psychologist is a heath professional that is registered under the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and trained to work with psychological difficulties. Psychologists (Clinical, Counseling and Educational) use psychological diagnostic tests and interventions to dissolve or improve psychological distress.
A play therapist can either be a health care practitioner registered under the HPCSA or another organizational body. Play therapists refers to professionals that work with children (usually between the ages of 3 to 12 years) that utilize play as a form of therapy to address emotional and behavior difficulties. Counselors are also registered under the HPCSA and provide basic psychological assessment and intervention.
Counselors usually work more short term (maximum of 6 sessions) and if more specialized psychological intervention is indicated, they refer to either a psychologist or psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors that specialize in the field of psychiatry and are registered under the HPCSA. Psychiatrists diagnose psychopathology and usually treat psychological difficulties using medicine.