Psychotherapy and counseling are different but do you have similarities that aim for the same outcome. People usually go for Counseling and seek a Counselor for certain issues and situations like grief or addiction. Psychotherapy on the other hand may dive in to past issues that may be contributing to the present problem.
A Psychotherapist can also be a Counselor and vice-versa. Psychotherapy generally requires more school and training while a Counselor is more of an advisor. A Counselor works with a patient together on his or her problems, while a Psychotherapist will work with the patient and provide more treatment.
Psychotherapy is a long term treatment that focuses on past emotional problems to solve a person’s present thought process. Basically, Psychotherapy focuses on the root issues of present problems to improve personal growth.
Counselors will focus more on the present while Psychotherapists focus on chronic or recurring issues. Counseling is specific, while Psychotherapy is big picture.
Psychotherapy requires analyzing your past and working together to better understand how past experiences affect you today. Counseling is about your current events and how they affect you now.
Either Psychotherapy and/or Counseling can be used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Studies have found that Counseling can be just as effective in dealing with anxiety and depression as Psychotherapy.
If your anxiety or depression is severe and has lasted for many years you may decide to see a Psychotherapist instead of a Counselor. This is because there may be a lot of underlying issues in your past that only a skilled Psychotherapist could truly treat.
When you choose a therapist deciding between a Counselor and a Psychotherapist could come down to what you are struggling with and what your insurance will cover. You may want to start with Counseling first and see how that goes. A Counselor may even recommend seeing a skilled Psychotherapist as a next step.
Psychotherapist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Counselor, Social Worker - the titles alone can confuse a person seeking help. There is some overlap amongst these professions.
A professional that provides Psychotherapy services can be any of these:
Psychotherapist is the umbrella term for professionals trained to treat people for their emotional problems. Depending upon academic degree, a Psychotherapist can be a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, or Counselor.
Psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor who specializes in Psychopharmacology and can prescribe medication. Psychiatrists may also practice in talk therapy, or Psychotherapy.
Psychologist has a Doctoral Degree (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) in Psychology and offers talk therapy services. Psychologists have training in Psychological testing.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor has a Master's Degree (MA) in Psychology, Counseling, or a related field. Counselors also need two more years' working alongside a mental health professional after graduating. A Counselor can diagnose and provide treatment for mental health problems by providing Counseling and/or Psychotherapy.
Clinical Social Worker has similar education to a psychologist’s, though not a PhD but rather a Master's Degree. Social Workers do not provide any Psychological testing.
The main thing is if you are struggling, seek help. The first and sometimes hardest step is asking for help. A big factor in your decision between a Counselor and a Psychotherapist is how comfortable you feel with that therapist.
Keep checking back on our Creative Psychotherapy blog to keep the discussion going.
Communication is key.