Glossary of Terms
Professionals involved in the care of people with mental health
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Advocate helps people obtain the information
they need to make an informed decision in areas such as legal
rights, treatments or services. An advocate can also support the
patient during a meeting with a doctor or another professional, and
represent their views, if asked.
Approved Social Worker (ASW) is a qualified
social worker who has done further training in mental health and
the Mental Health Act. An ASW plays a key role in assessing whether
or not someone should be detained in hospital under the Mental
An Art Therapist is a professional who has
undergone specialist training in a form of psychotherapy which uses
art making within a therapeutic relationship or group, as a means
of assisting a person in discovering, exploring and clarifying
their thoughts and feelings.
is someone who has been
trained in the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is a
form of psychotherapy. It is a way of helping people to cope with
stress and emotional problems by talking about the connections
between the way we think, how we feel and how we behave. See our
factsheet on Cognitive Behavioural
for further information.
Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) supports
people with mental health problems in the community. CMHT members
include community psychiatric nurses (CPNs), social workers,
psychologists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists and support
workers. Team members are often based in the same mental health
Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) is a nurse
who specialises in mental health, and has received further training
to enable them to work in the community where they will assess and
treat people with mental health problems.
Counsellor is someone who uses ‘counselling’
to solve people’s problems or plan for the future. A counsellor may
work with individual patients, in pairs or groups. Counselling
helps people address and resolve their problems and work through
is a psychologist
who has undergone
specialist training in the treatment of people with mental health
is someone who uses
purposeful activity and meaningful occupation to help people with
mental health problems. OTs play a key role in helping people
overcome problems and gain confidence in themselves. See the
College of Occupational Therapists
is a professional who is interested in how
people think, how they act, react and interact. See the
British Psychological Society
for further information.
is a mental health
professional who has had a specialist training in one of the
Psychotherapies. The psychotherapies are often called 'talking
treatments' because they are ways of talking that help people
better understand themselves and their problems. This process can
help to solve problems and relieve symptoms. There are many
different types of Psychotherapy,and many ways of being trained.
See the factsheet on Psychotherapy
more detailed information. Psychiatrists
people from other
backgrounds can train to become a psychotherapist. See the
British Association of
' website or British Psychoanalytic
website for further information.
is a doctor who specialises in mental health
problems and is trained to deal with the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of mental and emotional disorders. You may come across
the following grades:
- Consultant is a doctor who has reached a
senior position in terms of qualifications, treating people,
training other doctors and helping to organize and run
- Clinical assistant is an experienced and
senior doctor working under the supervision of a consultant.
Staff grade is an experienced doctor who is
working under the supervision of the consultant.
Specialist Registrar (SpR) is a doctor who
has completed the Senior House Officer (SHO) part of specialist
training and who has passed the membership examination of the Royal
College of Psychiatrists. They are undergoing the final three years
of training before applying for a consultant post.
Senior House Officer is a doctor who is in
the first three years of their training as a specialist. As well as
gaining experience, they are studying to pass their membership
exams for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They will work for,
and be supervised by, a consultant.
Support Worker provides practical help and
support to people with mental health problems. They work for the
community mental health team.