These two terms are often used synonymously but there is a distinctive difference.
Counseling generally refers to short-term consultation, more concerned with immediate issues and outcomes and tends to be wellness oriented. While on the other hand Therapy or Psychotherapy refers to longer-term treatment, more focused on helping a person understand his/her life in an earnest and speculative manner.
So, here I will be trying to describe the difference between these two that might help you decide if either are of relevance to you.
It is typically consisting of just a handful of sessions and focused on identifying and implementing potential solutions to a current problem.
As a simpler definition, the UK’s NHS website defines counselling as:
“A talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues.”
Counselling can help you cope with:
· Depression, Anxiety, an eating disorder, low self esteem
· Long Term Illness
· Difficult Life event like Work stress or Loosing a loved one
· Trauma related to any accident or physical/Mental abuse
Counseling offers a safe and confidential environment to speak and freedom to explore your own thoughts. Counsellor will focus on you and listen without judging or criticizing you. They won’t usually give you any advice instead that will help you in identifying ways of finding your own solutions to problems.
Therapy is often considered deeper than counselling as it seeks to reveal and alter the root or historical causes of your problems. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control symptoms that is troubling you so that your well-being and healing can increase. Sessions for the therapy may be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group settings and typically held once or twice a week.
There are several different types of therapy that fall under the psychotherapy category:
· Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
· Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
· Psychoanalytic Therapy
Psychotherapy mainly focuses on persistent problems and takes care of the internal thoughts/feelings leading to personal growth. Generally, therapies are for longer term, either continuous or intermittent over many years.
Everybody is different and so are the problems. It is not possible to fit everything cleanly into a box. Therefore, practioner will usually use a blend of both approaches depending on the situation and tailor methods to work in the way that will be most helpful.
You may wish to choose a counselor or a psychotherapist but the most important step is getting started.