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What Is The Difference Between A Counselor And A Therapist

Find out the difference between a counselor and therapist. Understand each profession's education, training, careers available, salary potentials, job outlook forecasts, and more!

Dr. Neha Mehta Psychotherapy 15 Jul 2020
difference between a counselor and a therapist
2 Years Ago 538 Reads 6 min read

Counseling is the process of investigating complications that are responsible for developing the stressful emotions of an individual. The act helps the person to detect the problem more clearly, probably from a different outlook. It can improve the client's concentrate on emotions, sufferings, or behavior, with an eye to the positive change. A combination of faith and confidentiality is the yardstick to generate successful counseling.

A therapy or medical treatment finds out the remediation of a specific health problem with the help of diagnosis. There are various types of treatment. Therapies can not only sometimes bring ineffective results but also can evoke adverse effects. However, in terms of mental health, the word therapy refers mainly to psychotherapy.

The Approaches

Counseling is an assisting strategy that focuses on the prevailing emotional and intellectual experience of a person. Psychotherapy maintains the psychodynamic approach, enabling the individual to return to his past experiences and analyze how these sufferings may affect his present.

Likenesses And Differences 

There are many resemblances and difference between a counselor and a therapist. Counseling often comprises some psychotherapy, and psychotherapy also encompasses some sorts of advice. But the methods and implementation of some processes differentiate their outlook.

Some Resemblances Are:

  • Both develop a healthy and healing relationship with a person.
  • Both involve a wide variety of people, including adults and children.
  • Both try to comprehend an individual's emotions and characters, addresses problems because of improving one's life.

Some Differences Are:

  • Psychotherapy is the primary process, while counseling is a secondary process.
  • Psychotherapy concentrates on recurrent and chronic problems while counseling emphasizes existing problems and circumstances.
  • Psychotherapy works regarding the large picture, while counseling focuses on particular situations or overall patterns of behavior.
  • Psychotherapy is a long-term process that continues over many years while counseling is a short-term therapy that lasts for some weeks or months.
  • Feeling and experience are a matter of concern in psychotherapy while counseling deals with action and behavior
  • Psychotherapy encompasses personality tests, intelligence tests, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many more while counseling works based on talk therapy.
  • Psychotherapy renders a deep focus on inner thoughts or feelings, directing to subjective growth. On the other hand, counseling gives advice, assistance, and instruction to persons in identifying their solutions to neutralize recent problems. 

Counseling is a far more reasonable option than psychotherapy when:

  • You have specific and short period problems.
  • You want to learn about the coping strategy to manage stress and enhance the relationships quotient.
  • You are struggling with adjustments and transitions like divorce, break-up pain, career hazards, etc.
  • You are confronting addiction problems.
  • You are searching for someone who extends his guidance o support learning and analyzing certain problems, thus cultivating healthy solutions to combat the situation.

A psychotherapist is necessary when:

A psychotherapist is necessary when

  • You have mental troubles that considerably affect your existence and relationships.
  • You are bearing past trauma, and such painful feelings are playing a role in your existing issues.
  • Your current problems are not short-termed; on the contrary, they are chronic and recurring.
  • You have a persistent medical ailment (like cancer) that is influencing your well-being.
  • You have a critical mental health problem like chronic depression, or bipolar disorder, or paranoia, or a crucial anxiety disorder.
  • You have already visited a counselor, and he is incapable of solving your problem.

The mental health professionals who can carry counseling and psychotherapy

The mental health professionals

  • A psychiatrist is a mental health specialist who obtains a general medical degree and a specialization in psychiatry. He has the authority to treat patients with medicines. He is eligible to deal with complicated mental disorders like chronic depression, paranoia, anxiety, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. Sometimes the combination of medication and therapy is necessary to treat a patient.
  • A psychologist possesses a doctoral degree in psychology. He is capable of assessing and treating mental and emotional disorders. Licensed psychologists get approval to perform counseling and psychotherapy as well. They can treat the patient by conducting psychological testing and providing treatment for mental illnesses. He cannot prescribe medication and often collaborates with a psychiatrist who lends the medical remedy for mental disorder while the psychologist delivers the psychotherapy.   
  • A psychological counselor is a cognitive health counselor who attains a master's degree in psychology, counseling, or a similar field. He is efficient enough to analyze and treat mental issues by rendering counseling or psychotherapy.
  • A clinical social worker carries a master's degree in social work and related training to deal with mental diseases. What is the difference between a counselor and a therapist? They have a separate mode of works. A therapist works with the help of some therapies.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy enables people to identify and improve ineffective behavioral patterns, replacing them with more valid practical behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy helps people to learn decent ways to express emotions and improve communication.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a particular one that boosts to regulate emotions. It is frequently used to treat persons with chronic suicidal thoughts.
  • Psychodynamic therapy deals with past painful experiences and improper repetitious thoughts.
  • Psychoanalysis is an intensive aspect of psychodynamic therapy.
  • Supportive psychotherapy helps victims combat the issues related to their mental health conditions.  

The counselors work based on talking- Counselors need to be a prior listener lending their whole attention to the client. They need to study body language and other non-verbal transmissions. Counselors utilize questioning methods to improve their comprehension and empathy. Counselors are also able to create a strong rapport with their clients without being emotionally involved. 

Whom to select between a counselor and psychotherapist 

People often get confused with the question What is the difference between a counselor and a therapist.

While selecting a therapist, it's beneficial to keep in mind the differences of both professionals and the background of specific approaches they employ. Sometimes, the selection is subjective to personal priorities, permits, or insurance coverage. The most important thing is to find out a trustworthy therapist. The level of trust plays a great role to procure success. You certainly need to talk with a mental health specialist or take a few sessions before validating the therapy type best for you. In some cases, it is impossible to identify a problem's nature, whether it is short term or restricted problem or arises from a past occurrence directing to the recent problem. I hope the discussion answers the question of what is the difference between a counselor and a therapist.

If you are suffering from any mental health issues and need a counselor or a therapist to solve your problem. Feel free to contact us. Our myfitbrain team will help you to solve your problem.

  • Recommended

    Dr. Neha Mehta

    Consultant Psychologist

    Hisar, India

    Available - Online

    Language: English, Hindi, Punjabi

    Expertise: Child Counseling, Couple Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, Self Improvement, Sleep, IQ Testing, ADHD

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