Psychotherapy and counselling are two diverse concepts but get frequently mistaken for one another. They both use psychological methods to alleviate mental health issues and are both forms of cognitive therapy. Psychotherapy (also known as cognitive treatment or psychological therapy) is the application of psychodynamic therapy strategies in assisting people with fickle behavioural patterns, increasing positivity and fulfillment, as well as overcoming difficulties. Psychotherapy is used to continue improving a person ’s state of mind short – term and long – term wellbeing, as well as to remedy and maybe ameliorate problematic behaviours, ideologies, impulses, thought processes, and sentiments, and to also strengthen social connections capabilities.   Independent adults, families and children are all capable of benefitting from these various forms of psychotherapy.

  What is counselling?

Counselling is a type of therapeutic method that aids a person in overcoming unwanted emotions and behavioural habits. The fundamental goal of counselling is to enable the client reveal his concerns to a professional with extensive knowledge of the human mind, so that the client can receive help in adapting to normal and efficient everyday routines.

There are different aptitudes involved in counselling:

  • Proper listening and attention skills. 
  • Empathy and understanding
  • A non-judgemental attitude
  • Patience and kindness
  • Ability to cope with emotional situations
  • Ability to relate to and adapt communication style to suit a wide range of people
  • A Good Communicator 
  • Analysis

Types of counselling:

Career Counselling 

Career counselling involves giving people professional career help and pointing them in the right direction based on their fields of interest and abilities. The career counselling program can be used at any stage of life to assist people in picking, switching, or quitting a vocation. A career counsellor evaluates your ability, personality, and passions to recommend the best career path for you. 

Mental Health Counselling 

People tend to seek mental health counselling for a number of reasons, including prolonged grief, extreme anger issues, addictions, phobias, family troubles, eating disorders, and so on. After discussing with clients about their issues, these mental health counsellors strive to help them find solving the troubles that they may face and improve their overall well-being. Also, you can use a remote option such as online counseling platform.

Psychotherapeutic Counselling

A psychotherapeutic counsellor is an individual who has gone through rigorous therapeutical, clinical and psychotherapy education and is capable of performing the duties of both a counsellor and a psychotherapist.

Rehabilitation Counselling 

This program assists disabled persons to reach their goals and enjoy living an independent life that includes full community engagement. This is a way for assisting persons with behavioural, physiological, neurological, and mental obstacles in achieving their life objectives and living a life worth living. Rehabilitation counsellors help individuals who are burdened with psychological illnesses and empower them with the tools necessary to conquer these impairments. 

Relationship Counselling 

Individuals seek such counselling, when anything major is affecting their romantic life. People seek relationship counselling for a variety of reasons, including the need to improve their bond with their spouse or partner, challenges arising from arguments, harmful behaviours, a stressful event in their lives, and so on. A relationship therapist assists the couple in overcoming obstacles and committing to a long-term partnership.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a developmental process that will assist the client in gaining a logical and clear understanding of their core attitudes, beliefs and recurrent emotions, patterns of thinking, behaviour, and personality, which may have resulted in specific challenges, poor quality of life, and interpersonal relationships.

There are different techniques and types of psychotherapy:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): helps people recognise and alter toxic or counterproductive mindsets and social behaviours, exchanging them with more realistic beliefs and effective behaviours. It might assist a person to focus on present issues and possible solutions. It frequently entails putting new abilities into practise in reality.CBT is an evidence-based treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma-related illnesses, and eating disorders. CBT is founded on the idea that thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and actions are all linked, and that negative ideas and feelings can keep you trapped in a vicious cycle that can be very difficult to break from..
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a treatment that lasts only a few weeks. It aids patients to better comprehend troubling emotional problems such as grief and loss, societal changes or job roles, disputes with partners, and interpersonal problems. It can assist people to learn healthy ways of expressing their emotions as well as techniques to improve social interaction and interpersonal relationships. It is mostly used to alleviate depression.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy is a sort of CBT that aids in the emotional regulation. It’s frequently used to treat persons with suicidal thoughts and behaviours, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It offers new services to enable people in taking full responsibility for overcoming detrimental behaviours. Individual and group treatments are both used.
  • Supportive therapy Patients are guided and expected to explore their own resources. It aids in the development of self-esteem, anxiety reduction, coping mechanism development, and communal interaction. Supportive psychotherapy aids patients in dealing with challenges linked to their psychological disorders, which have an impact on their lives as a whole.

Psychotherapy vs. Counselling

Counselling is a short-term treatment that places emphasis on a specific symptom or situation, whereas psychotherapy is an approach that provides long-term relief and aims to gain a deeper cognizance of a person’s problems. 

 Difference between a therapist and a counsellor

The method to treatment that counsellors and therapists follow is the major difference between them.

A counsellor assists a patient conquer specific concerns with the problem solving approach while a therapist will go a little further to get the history and possible reasons behind that behaviour and long term solutions to the core issue

Counselling vs. Psychotherapy

Counselling and psychotherapy both use psychological techniques to help patients deal with stressors and mental illnesses.

These are a few distinct differences between both specialities:

  1. Psychotherapy involves an intensive search and investigation of the issue at hand while counselling places more emphasis on providing an immediate solution to current grievances.
  2. Counselling is more like guidance to make well informed decisions while psychotherapy involves deep rooted and fundamental behavioural patterns and psychological issues.
  3. Counselling has always been connected with educational and social-work settings, whereas psychotherapy has traditionally been associated with psychopathology, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and medical settings.
  4. Counselling focuses on less serious difficulties and is a temporary procedure while psychotherapy involves quite an amount of time to get to the root of chronic, visceral issues and address them properly.
  5. Counselling is usually done in an outpatient context, whereas psychotherapy is done in both an inpatient and outpatient setting.
  6. Psychotherapy is frequently used to treat a diagnosable mental health illness such as depression, schizophrenia amidst others while counselling is typically wellness-oriented, offering deeper insight and teaching how to effectively handle problems and challenges.
  7. Counselling addresses social, career, and educational issues, whereas psychotherapy concentrates on adaptation and psychological issues.
  8. Counselling focuses on basic life challenges that most people encounter at some point in their lives, such as stress at work, relationship problems, family issues or emotionally difficult changes like the death of a loved one, where psychotherapy specializes in working to improve problems with a person’s fundamental thoughts, beliefs, or feelings.

Given the differences between psychotherapy and counselling, psychotherapy is unquestionably more profound than counselling. Here are a few pointers to help you determine whether you require counselling or psychotherapy.

  • The disorder is long-term and has a substantial impact on your daily activities and interpersonal relationships.
  • You rely on dangerous techniques to cope, such as drugs and alcohol, and friends and family advise you to seek treatment because they perceive a downhill spiral.
  • Nothing you’ve tried seems to work: you’ve tried relaxation techniques and meditation, but they don’t appear to be effective. You might need to see a doctor.

It’s also worth noting that psychotherapy doesn’t always yield rapid effects. After the first session, you are unlikely to feel any better.

Counselling and psychotherapy are two distinct concepts involving separate experts. A psychotherapist’s responsibilities differ from those of a counsellor.

Psychotherapist vs. Counsellor

A psychotherapist usually has to acquire more specialised training and skills than a counsellor

A psychotherapist performs the following roles

  • focuses on recurrent problems, thought processes and emotion.
  • Psychotherapists are aware of a person’s psyche and inner child, which may have had a harmful effect on challenging moments.
  • They will also have patients explore their past encounters in order to comprehend their social development, and cognitive and behavioural tendencies, encouraging patients to discover themselves, and free themselves of adverse notions, self-beliefs, and environmental stimuli.
  • Psychotherapists are taught how to diagnose problems based on their therapeutic approach. This is especially important when dealing with deep-seated issues that affect the patient’s relationship with themselves and others. This training is not available to counsellors. 

While a counsellor performs the following roles

  • Provide guidance to help patients find solutions to their issues
  • focuses on present centred issues and difficulties
  • short term therapy.
  • Counsellors attempt to read their clients in order to provide a secure environment in which they can explore their deepest feelings.
  • They arm patients with immediate solutions and tools to maneouver their challenges.

Marriage and family therapists, grief and loss counsellors, career counsellors, premarital counsellors, addiction and substance abuse counsellors, and others are all examples of counsellors. 

Counsellors and psychotherapists are essential in enhancing our society’s health and well-being. They help individuals talk about their feelings, reflect on their decisions or conduct, and making positive life adjustments.

Sometimes their roles overlap, but for the most part, a counsellor is not a psychotherapist, although a psychotherapist can be a counsellor

Other forms of talking therapy


A paradigm of talking therapy that places a major emphasis on self-awareness and the ‘here-and-now’, claiming that self-awareness is really the basis of human psychological development. The method recognises that negative behavioural patterns can often obstruct self-awareness, leaving people disappointed and sad. To relieve anxiety, therapy sessions aim to help people learn to become more self-aware and understand and accept their thoughts and feelings. It is used to raise consciousness and assist people to embrace the “here and now” of their experiences through activities and research.

Gestalt therapy is centred on the suggestion that people are influenced by their current environment.

Forms of counselling and psychotherapy

  • Individual therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Family therapy: focused on building the coexistence of members of the family
  • Group therapy: this involves a collection of likeminded people

Applications of counselling and psychotherapy

Counselling and psychotherapy have proven very useful in the following:

  • Paediatric therapy
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss and grief therapy


While psychotherapy and counselling are resources that one can take advantage of to handle personal issues and improve their quality of life, they have varying techniques and approaches along with different specific functions.