20th July 2018 
‘Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein

What is Psychotherapy and Counselling?

"Psychotherapy" and "counselling" are terms that are often used interchangeably.

Technically speaking, "counsellor" means "advisor". It involves two people working together to solve a problem. It is a term that is used in conjunction with many types of advice giving. For example, financial planning and spiritual guidance are both types of counselling. Just about anyone at all may claim to be a counsellor if they are in the role of giving advice. The term counselling may also properly be used to refer to what occurs in a relationship with a psychotherapist.

In the context of mental health, "counselling" is generally used to denote a relatively brief treatment that is focused most upon behaviour. It often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation and offers suggestions and advice for dealing with it.

Psychotherapy on the other hand is generally a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining insight into physical and emotional problems. Its focus is on the client’s thought processes and way of being in the world and how that relates to current problems.

In actual practice there may be quite a bit of overlap between the two. A therapist may provide counselling with specific situations and a counsellor may function in a psychotherapeutic manner. There is a general understanding that a psychotherapist can work with a wider range of clients or patients and can offer more in-depth work where appropriate.

The UKCP states that it believes the difference lies in the length and depth of training involved and in the quality of the relationship between the client and their therapist.
While a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may or may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy.

More About Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can help when people have lost themselves and are stuck in unproductive, unsatisfying, even self-destructive patterns of feeling and behaviour.
These patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving are not chosen or established at a conscious level. They are developed outside of our awareness, usually as a result of non-verbal messages, commonly received in childhood.

As the problems are established outside of awareness, the cure must reach into the same area. This can be difficult to do as we often resist the things that we most need to face because they are painful. Instead we find we have developed a life-time’s worth of strategies to defend against them. Once insight is gained, this whole process can often seem so obvious.

Psychotherapy is a rational process that anyone can understand or follow. It’s a dialogue that requires you to take an active role. I can offer ideas about what is probably going on and what seems to be happening, but ultimately, only you know what is right.

Psychotherapy isn’t always comfortable. In fact, if it doesn’t stir up a little discomfort you might not be getting anywhere. Neither is it advice. The goal of treatment is for you to discover your own voice, your own priorities, and the courage to act on them.

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life.”

What Can Psychotherapy and Counselling Help With?

The types of problems psychotherapy and counselling can help with are too numerous to list, but include relationship problems, personal crisis or life change, difficulties from the past, low confidence or self-esteem, anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation or hopelessness, bereavement or other loss, personal development, feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or unable to cope.