Counselling and Psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over short and long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance well-being.
There is considerable overlap in that both counselling and psychotherapy are about overcoming personal difficulties and facilitating change. The methods used are similar and in some cases identical. The main differences relate more to the goals, interests and settings in which the professional counsellor or psychotherapist works.
Counselling tends to focus on solving the presenting problem. This is particularly useful for people wishing to focus on what is causing them concern in their everyday lives and for shorter term therapy.
It is often considered psychotherapy is more directive and looks to the past and the historical influences for the answers to the ‘here and now issues ‘. The counsellor however may work more with crisis intervention.
In Psychotherapy the practitioners tend to use a whole range of techniques which are incorporated into the therapy and adapted to suit each individual whatever the presenting problem.
Therapists are trained to understand what you say – your words, how you say them, and which ones you do not use. They also pay attention to your body language your facial expressions and the voice and tone to fully understand your speech.
Having learned about and treated people with your condition before, therapists can comprehend your particular problems. They are familiar with the symptoms of various psychiatric illnesses and the difficulties of daily living. They know what questions to ask and might pose questions that you have never heard before.
Psychotherapy is usually a longer and more in depth process than counselling and may last for a minimum of six months to several years.