What is the Difference Between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

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difference between counseling and psychotherapy

There is a common misconception that counseling and psychotherapy are the same forms of mental health counseling or of treatment. Yes, they have similarities, but both counseling services offer very different methods and outcomes. In this article, we’re going to look at the differences between each treatment.

Counselling and Psychotherapy


Definition of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Counseling is a service that gives guidance in resolving and addressing issues that people have gone through or are currently suffering from. It offers a safe, confidential space for talking about specific issues people are experiencing without fear of judgment and can provide advice on their coping skills and how to handle situations that might be difficult for the person to handle.

Psychotherapy is a service that appeals to people with mental health issues that would instead be helped with psychological advice rather than medical means. It offers a safe, reliable, and stable place for people with mental health conditions to be able to open up about what they are suffering through and helps to resolve some of the major issues and relationship problems they are suffering from.

Psychotherapy is also known to assist people to go deep into a particular matter in order to reveal the root cause that causes the related, disturbed perspective of life.


  • In 2018 at least 22.8% of women and 15.2% of men in America said that they suffered from mental illness of any kind.

  • According to percentages, at least 42% decided to join counseling or psychotherapy to seek help at some point in their lives.


Methods of Counselling and Methods of Psychotherapy

Counseling and psychology are massively evolving areas of study. As such, there are a few different methods that mental health counselors or a psychotherapist might use to treat you either with long term counseling or short term therapy. 

Adlerian Therapy:

Adlerian therapy focuses on creating a genuine and practical therapeutic relationship. In this method, therapists help clients question and understand their behavior and overall patterns to identify issues. It is a classic form of therapy. 

Behavioral Therapy:

Behavioral therapy believes that past experiences can be unlearnt or reconditioned without the need to analyze the initial incident. 

Cognitive Therapy:

Cognitive therapy works by having the client change the mental perception of themselves. The belief is that if a therapist can change how someone’s cognition sees the world, then they can tackle and rewrite the issues that they suffer from. 

There are countless other schools of interpersonal therapy methods, including schools that combine two or three different types, but these three are the foundational and most common psychological methods that you are going to come across. 

Pros and Cons of Counselling and Psychotherapy

There are countless pros related to going to seek counseling or psychotherapy. However, there are some cons that those who need the service may need to consider. 


  • It gives you a stranger to talk about current problems you are facing. 

  • You can get the feedback and advice of qualified mental health professionals. 

  • It can help you open up, and in turn, begin resolving the issues that you have. 

  • You can start to recover by following the advice that your therapist gives to you. 


  • It can be tough for those with anxiety to start therapy. 

  • You may feel uncomfortable speaking about yourself to a stranger. 


How Can Online Therapy Help?

Not everyone has their own resources to go to a therapy clinic in person. Either because of financial constraints, extremely long waiting times, mental health concerns, family issues or perhaps they can’t because of their anxiety

For those of us in that boat, online therapy can be a release from an otherwise very hard place. It’s incredibly tough when you need therapy, but your mental health isn’t letting you seek it. 

Online therapy helps take those first steps towards recovery. If you want, it can be completely anonymous, and you can text behind an avatar, with the therapist having no idea of who you are, where you are, or what you look like. 

It can give you a safe space to talk to a professional about how you’re feeling, even if that’s something you’re uncomfortable with. It is mainly a form of talk therapy and can be extraordinarily helpful. Even just the act of telling someone else your emotional problems and worries can be extremely helpful to your mental health, and it really can give you a boost. 

Therefore, if you find yourself struggling with going to see a therapist in the flesh, you might want to consider online therapy as an option. 


There is no shortage of resources for those of us suffering from mental health issues, on account of the dramatic rise of poor mental health in youth. While the resources you have available to you varies from region to region, we’ve listed some of the most common ones. 


Childline is a phone-based mental health and support service that is exclusive to the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It is for youths up to the age of 19. If you feel like you need help and are in danger, or if you just want somebody to talk to, Childline’s trained support specialists are going to be there to listen. 


Talkspace has an amazing PDF that is full of resources for those that feel like they need some mental help. It has information, links, and contact details on organizations like the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and more.


Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful in some way. Counseling is a service that you can take advantage of to work through issues and that you are suffering from. In contrast, psychotherapy is a stronger form of counseling and involves mental assessments to see if you are suffering from any kind of diagnosable mental illnesses.

Psychotherapy FAQs

No, psychotherapy is not the same as a psychologist. Psychotherapy is a form of therapeutic treatment that involves talk therapy to address psychological challenges. A psychologist is a licensed mental health professional who may provide psychotherapy and also conducts assessments, diagnoses, and research related to mental health.

No, psychotherapy is not exclusively for mental illness. While it is an effective treatment for various mental health conditions, it is also used to address emotional difficulties, relationship issues, personal growth, and improving overall well-being. It can benefit individuals facing life transitions, stress, grief, or seeking self-exploration and personal development.

  • Initial Assessment: The therapist gathers information, assesses the client’s needs, and establishes treatment goals.

  • Building Rapport: The therapist and client establish a trusting relationship to create a safe therapeutic environment.

  • Working Through: The main phase of therapy where clients explore and address their issues through various techniques and interventions.

  • Termination: The therapeutic relationship is concluded, and progress is evaluated. Follow-up plans may be established.

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