Understanding Mental Health Professionals: A very brief guide for parents


Think of psychiatrists as mental health doctors, like a medical consultant. They’ve gone through medical school and then specialised in understanding the brain and psychological processes. They often focus on severe mental health issues and can prescribe medication. Your child might need to see a psychiatrist for certain diagnoses, programs or treatments. PrimaHealth does not currently offer psychiatry consultations.


Clinical Psychologists:

These professionals have doctorates in psychology and offer a different perspective. They also diagnose issues using manuals like DSM5, but don’t prescribe medication. Instead, they focus on therapy interventions to help with mental health challenges.


Assistant Psychologists:

Assistant psychologists have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and usually a master’s. They help clinical psychologists and other experts with administrative tasks and therapy application.



These professionals help with emotional and behavioural challenges using various techniques. They create a safe space for clients to explore and grow. Often recommended by psychiatrists or clinical psychologists for specific therapies. While not yet a regulated profession, those at PrimaHealth meet the highest standards and qualifications; and utilise up-to-date evidence based interventions, such as CBT for anxiety.


Occupational Therapists (OTs):

OTs help teenagers engage in daily activities important for health and well-being. They focus on personalised plans to enhance independence, often working with those with physical or mental health issues. For example, a child who hasn’t been able to go to school because of their anxiety might work with an OT to make small manageable steps to progress back into school.


Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs):

SLTs diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders in teenagers. They create tailored plans to improve speech, language, and swallowing abilities, offering support and education to clients and families.


Educational Psychologists:

Specialising in learning and development within educational settings, these professionals assess students’ needs and collaborate with educators and parents to support academic, social, and emotional growth. Many also help diagnose and manage learning difficulties, like dyslexia.



Like psychiatrists, paediatricians are medical doctors specialising in children’s general health. They provide comprehensive care, including preventive measures, diagnosis, and treatment, ensuring optimal physical, psychological and emotional well-being from infancy through adolescence. PrimaHealth does not currently offer paediatrician consultations.

For more information about the difference between these professionals, or to discuss your childs difficulties, request a callback for a complimentary conversation with one of our professionals.

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An Occupational Therapist and Phd researcher, Joy has worked in paediatric disability settings, as well as community crisis intervention and inpatient mental health teams.

As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, with a master’s degree in CBT, Melissa specialises in offering tailored mental health services to meet each client’s unique needs;  fostering a comprehensive and personalised therapeutic experience.

Managing Director of PrimaHealth, with a master’s degree in Applied Psychology from UCC, Danny is one of the team which liaises with parents to offer them empathetic support and guidance; finding the right mental health professional for their child’s particular needs.

Kelly Ann employs evidence-based techniques like CBT and mindfulness in her counselling to address adolescent issues such as anxiety and stress, emphasising strong therapeutic relationships and collaboration with parents for growth and emotional well-being.

Passionate about providing empathetic support, Breda, a psychotherapist with extensive experience, offers evidence-based techniques like CBT, DBT, REBT, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to help navigate her clients through stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges they may face.

With over twenty years of therapeutic experience with young people and families, Rosaleen specialises in adolescent psychotherapy, holding qualifications including a BA in Applied Social Studies, a Certificate in Addiction Studies and a Diploma in Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Adolescent Psychotherapy.

Having had years of experience working in Child and Adolescent community mental health teams and inpatient settings as an Occupational Therapist, Fidelma has developed a clinical expertise in using therapeutic approaches to support young adults manage and overcome their difficulties. 

Marianne, an Occupational Therapist, specialises in pediatric and adolescent mental health, providing compassionate therapy focused on fostering self-compassion and safeness. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise, enhanced by her continuous pursuit of alternative therapy courses and passion for wellness.