Counselling and Psychotherapy are often considered as synonymous, even though there are differences between them. It is true that the subject matter of counseling and psychotherapy can overlap. However, there is a distinction in counseling and psychology. Counseling refers to a process where the counselor and counselee engage in an effort to find solutions to a problem that the counselee is facing. This is more of a guidance, rather than advising. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is also a process where the therapist and the client engage in an effort to find solutions to a problem. However, unlike in counseling, where the focus will be on individual problems, the psychotherapist is more interested in understanding and finding solutions to chronic issues and various disorders. Through this article let us examine the differences between Counseling and Psychotherapy.
What is Counseling?
Counseling refers to a process where the counselor would guide the counselee with the intention of finding solutions to a problem that the counselee is facing. The counselor would guide the counselee throughout the process, instead of advising him. Counseling allows an individual to view his problem in various perspectives. This is usually the task of the counselor. He would create the ambiance where the counselee learns to explore all his possibilities before arriving at a solution or decision. This solution is not provided by the counselor, but by the counselee himself as the counselor would only guide the individual. In counseling, it is vital that the counselor adhere to a code of ethics, of which confidentiality is treated with the utmost respect. Since in counseling the counselee discloses his personal information, the counselor needs to maintain confidentiality.
According to Humanistic psychology, a counselor needs to cultivate certain qualities that will allow him to assist the client in the best possible manner. Empathy and unconditional positive regard are two of the main qualities that the counselor needs to cultivate. Empathy refers to the ability to understand another individual from his perspective; this is also known as ‘getting into the other person’s shoes.’ This allows the person to view his perspective. But the counselor also should not get involved with the issue emotionally and be objective. Also, a counselor should not be judgmental and critical. On the contrary, he should be genuine with the client.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy refers to a healing process, which allows the client to correct maladaptive behavior. However, unlike counseling that is comparatively brief, psychotherapy is a longer treatment. The main focus on psychotherapy goes beyond the day to day issues of the individual into chronic mental and physical problems. In psychotherapy, counseling sessions can be included, but not the other way around. This is because a psychotherapist can conduct counseling. However, a counselor cannot conduct psychotherapies. Also, a psychotherapist needs more skills than a counselor as he needs to explore issues in depth such as the unconscious. This highlights that the terms counseling and psychotherapy cannot be used interchangeably.
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
• Definition of Counselling (Counseling) and Psychotherapy:
• Counseling refers to a process where the counselor would guide the counselee with the intention of finding solutions to a problem that the counselee is facing which are mostly related to day to day life.
• Psychotherapy is a healing process where the therapist and the client engage in an effort to find solutions to chronic problem which can be emotional or physical.
• Counseling focuses on day to day issues of the individual.
• Psychotherapy goes beyond the day to day issues of the individual into chronic mental and physical problems.
• The duration of counseling is brief.
• In psychotherapy, the duration is much longer.
• A psychotherapist has more skills in comparison to a counselor as it extends beyond the basic counseling skills.
• A psychotherapist can conduct counseling, but a counselor cannot conduct psychotherapies.
• Counselling and Psychotherapy:
• Counseling can be included in psychotherapy, but psychotherapy cannot be included in counseling.
- Counseling by Joe Houghton (CC BY 2.0)
- Psychotherapy by CC BY-SA 4.0)