How is counseling different from psychotherapy?

Very often, counseling and psychotherapy are considered to be interchangeable as they overlap in a number of ways. In truth, there is some counseling and some psychotherapy alternatingly taking place in the course of any single therapeutic hour.

Although both are similar in many ways, there are some significant differences as well. For determining which therapy better suits you, it’s important to understand the difference between them.

The main difference between both treatments is the recommended time required to see benefits. Psychotherapy takes place over a series of meetings, though often it is a long term process than counseling. Counseling usually focuses on specific problem and taking the action to address and solve it.

Counseling is a conversation between counselor and client. When people follow counseling, they can expect to establish relationship with their counselor. Counseling is the process in which both patient and counselor work together to identify and solve the problem. During session you will receive advice and suggestions which you can use outside the session.

Problem solving is the key function of this process. Counseling can also be described as problem solving whereas psychotherapy is more analytical.

Length of treatment is also a major difference between both therapies. Counseling takes considerably less time than psychotherapy. In counseling, time depends on goals which are set by both client and counselor. Once these goals are met, the client should then be able to handle things on their own.

Counseling is best for people who already have an understanding of wellbeing and who are willing to resolve problems. On the other hand Psychotherapy helps in understanding the feelings, thoughts and actions more clearly.

Another difference between counseling and psychotherapy has to do with transference. Counselors maintain a relationship with their clients but discourage transference. However in psychotherapy strong transference of feelings is allowed.

Place of treatment is another differentiating factor. Counseling sessions usually take place at non-medical setting such as an office. Psychotherapy mainly happens in medical setting such as clinic and hospitals.