What is the difference between a Counselor and Psychotherapist?
As psychologist people often call and inquire whether we are counsellors or psychotherapist and often use the terms interchangeably. The terms “counselor” and “psychotherapist” are different but share many similarities. However, they both fall under what is popularly termed as “Talk Therapy”
Counseling is focused for specific issues and situations, such as addiction or grief, and takes place over weeks to several months.
Psychotherapy, focuses on exploring past issues that may be contributing to present day maladaptive thoughts and coping skills. This for form of therapy takes place continually or intermittently over a period of years.
However, in reality the two often overlap, but understanding the similarities and differences between counseling and psychotherapy will enable you to make a more informed choice on what would be most suited for you.
What is counseling
The term often denotes two people working towards achieving a specific goal to solve a specific problem. The term “counselor” means “advisor.” It is a term that is used in conjunction with many types of advice giving. For example, education counselor, financial counselor, or guidance counselor. However, the term counseling may also properly be used to refer to what occurs in a relationship with a psychotherapist.
In the context of mental health, “counseling” is generally used to denote a relatively brief treatment that is focused on behavior. It often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation and offers suggestions and advice for dealing with it. There are many types of counselors, such as marriage and family therapists, grief counselors, addiction and substance abuse counselors, and more.
What is psychotherapy?
“Psychotherapy” is focuses more on gaining insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. Thus it is comparatively longer to counseling. Its focus is on the person’s thought processes, and how these may be influenced by past events such that they cause problems in the present. It addresses the root cause and core issues of current problems so that lasting change and personal growth may occur.
Psychotherapy approaches include psychoanalytic psychotherapy,behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and much more.
Counseling and Psychotherapy both focus on creating and developing a safe space that is conductive for sharing, healing, and an effective therapeutic relationship between a therapist and an individual. These spaces are effective for everyone regardless of their age, ethnicity or background all it matters is the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship you and your psychologist share.
Choosing between a counselor or a psychotherapist may lead to a bit of confusion! But we have you covered.
The important part of the journey is getting started! If you are unsure of whether you need a counselor or a psychotherapist make a few calls, set up a few appointments and go speak to them. This is journey, and it is important that your psychologist is a co-traveller who gets your vibe!