What are the differences between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Opinions differ about the differences between counselling and psychotherapy but generally speaking counselling explores problems that have arisen recently in a person’s life, for example anxiety due to the threat of redundancy. These problems may respond well to a short term treatment of 5-20 sessions.

Psychotherapy on the other hand tends to explore longer standing problems that have their roots in an earlier period of a person’s life so may need longer term, more in depth therapy to explore and resolve.

What are the differences between Counselling training and Psychotherapy training?

In terms of the training that the Counsellor and Psychotherapist receives there are also distinct differences.
Counselling training is shorter, usually of 2 years duration and need not require the trainee counsellor to have any personal therapy themselves. The trainee may also have no prior experience of mental health.
By contrast Psychotherapy training is more in depth, and is typically of 4-7 years duration. Trainee Psychotherapists are required to be in personal therapy for the duration of their training as this is considered essential for them to be able to work at a deeper level with clients. They are also required to undertake a mental health placement within their training.

How will I know if I need short term Counselling or longer term Psychotherapy?

I offer both short term counselling and longer term psychotherapy. When we first meet we may discuss which will be more helpful for you. It is sometimes difficult to predict accurately from the start of the therapy which you will need but there are some indicators that will suggest if short term work will be beneficial. For example if the problem has occurred recently for the first time. An example of an indicator that longer term, more in depth psychotherapy may be more appropriate, could be that the problem began many years ago and frequently recurs.

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