This is a question that I get asked quite a lot! Although counselling and psychotherapy are often considered as interchangeable terms there are differences. Here’s my attempt to explain them. I use both in my practice depending on who I’m working with and what they bring to the therapy room.
Counselling could be described as talking therapy. It is usually a short-term process that deals with present issues or problems. Counselling can help you to identify and process difficult emotions, manage conflict and improve communication in all your relationships. Clients have worked with me to positively address all sorts of issues usually coming for around six up to twelve sessions. Over the weeks the presenting problem resolves and settles, with a level of peace or reconciliation.
Psychotherapy delves deeper, it takes longer and you have to be willing to ‘do the work’.
It’s a bit like breaking open a rock and seeing what’s inside. It takes time, patience and perseverance.
Psychotherapy takes a look at your long standing attitudes and behaviour. It links what’s happened to you in the past to what’s happening in your life right now. When you uncover root causes to thinking, feeling and behaviour you can increase your self-awareness. Dramatic changes in perspective can happen and you feel empowered as you gradually become free of your unconscious triggers. I use Transactional Analysis (TA) in psychotherapy. It’s a wonderful model as the theory is straightforward to explain. TA makes sense to every person I’ve used it with and it allows us to be creative and use our intuition.