The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have brought wide acknowledgment of the high
prevalence of mental distress and mental illnesses.
Several people have begun opening up about their mental health issues and are seeking needed help
and guidance. If you are someone who is going through any sort of mental distress, chances are that
you’ve considered counselling or psychotherapy. But have you ever wondered about the difference
between the two?
Here are some differences between Counselling and Therapy to help you make an informed decision
on the kind of assistance you or your loved ones may need.
1. Counselling Vs Therapy – the basic definitions:
Counselling is a practice that considers the present emotional and intellectual state of an
individual (or a group), specific issues they are facing and offers the necessary guidance to
overcome their current problems. The term counselling in the context of psychology roughly
translates to “to provide guidance”.
Psychotherapy involves psychodynamics (the systematic study of the psyche or the mind) to
understand the reason for an individual’s emotional and mental state. Psychotherapy also
takes past experiences into account to determine the reason for recurrence of chronic
mental distress. Psychotherapy focuses on past experiences and feelings. Psychotherapy
means treatment of the “psyche” or the mind.
2. The practitioners:
Counsellors generally need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or related courses and
most of them have a master’s degree. In India there’s no certifying body to qualify a
counsellor but while approaching one, ensuring that they have a master’s degree in
psychology, counselling, social work, or a related field. They also need experience in the
specific area of counselling they offer (I.e. school, relationship, family, addiction counselling,
Psychotherapists need to have compulsorily finished their masters, with extensive training
and field experience in their specializations, before setting up their own practice. Most
established Psychotherapists complete their Ph.D. and they cannot practice without an
3. What to expect?
Counselling sessions are educational, informative, provide guidance, and additional resources
to help sort out a situation or a problem. Counselling further helps clients identify the core
of their troubles and provide the necessary support to go about solving it. These sessions are
generally short-term and vary from a few weeks to 6 months, by which time the problems
Psychotherapy sessions focus on chronic or recurring behaviors. Sessions may include tests
to understand brain activity, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other in-depth treatments to
understand the problem and treat the illness or disorder accordingly. Psychotherapy
treatments are long term and may last up to a year or may go on for longer periods, either
intermittently or continuously.
4. Focus of treatment:
Counsellors meet clients with relationship troubles, work-related stress, need parenting
guidance, or just someone who needs guidance on a career. Actions, behaviors, and their
consequences are their prime focus. They also help clients learn skills that may help them
mitigate stress, manage relationships, and improve their attitudes towards situations and life
in general. Counselling further helps individuals dealing with addictions, grief or loss.
Psychotherapists treat patients with chronic mental health disorders that include clinical
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, etc. The prime focus here is on the experiences and
related feelings of the patients. Individuals under treatment for terminal illnesses also seek
out psychotherapists to cater to their emotional well-being. Psychotherapists further help
patients dealing with past trauma, PTSD, and extreme mood swings that hampers their
normal day to day lives.
Counselling is less expensive than psychotherapy, owing to the differences in techniques,
time periods and diagnostic tests involved. However, the costs may vary for each practitioner
and the problem that they are dealing with.
Above are the most predominant differences between counselling and psychotherapy. It is usually a
counsellor to whom we reach out first, who may then guide us to a psychotherapist if needed.
While it may take a while to find a practitioner who works best for us, the first step of approaching
someone makes all the difference. Before reaching out to a counsellor or a psychotherapist, it is
necessary to understand that trust is of utmost importance.
To get in touch with a counsellor, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more blogs on related topics, check out https://cecureus.com/blogs/