THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
A psychotherapist can provide counselling or psychotherapy depending on the individual need of each client, however, as the two are often seen as interchangeable, a psychotherapist may choose to provide counselling for specific situations and psychotherapy for others, always based on individual client need (Schimelpfening, 2020).
In simple terms, counselling is often a brief intervention, lasting around 6 to 12 weeks and is likely to have a fixed focus to start with, usually linked to something that has happened or is happening in the here and now. For instance, workplace burnout, stress, bullying, divorce, infidelity, retirement, bereavement, redundancy, family/relationship issues, or physical and/or mental health difficulties, however this list is non-exhaustive, and is used to give examples only. Counselling can help improve relationships and empower clients to cope with life’s difficulties, related stress, behaviours, feelings, and emotions or to help them make an important life decision for instance (Schimelpfening, 2020).
Psychotherapy is usually a long-term treatment, that may involve deeper thinking and exploration, and depending on individual need, can continue for a year or more, psychotherapy can be open ended, if it is helpful for the client. Psychotherapy may be a more appropriate option for client’s coping with past trauma, such as a serious car accident, violent attack, sexual violence, or any form of historical child abuse and/or parental/care giver abandonment. Other examples could include serious health conditions, such as Cancer or auto immune disease, or chronic mental health conditions, such as Bipolar and/or severe anxiety. As above, this list is non-exhaustive and is used to give examples only.
Sometimes a client may start with counselling and move on to psychotherapy if needed. Do not worry if you do not know if you would rather have counselling or psychotherapy yet, we can discuss this, during your free initial consultation, where I will take some details from you and advise what type of treatment could be more appropriate for you, and your individual needs, however the final decision will always be yours.