About Psychotherapy and Counselling…
What is It??
The practices of psychotherapy and counselling are often called “talking treatment”. This is because the process usually means talking to someone in a private, confidential space. It also involves the creation of what’s known as a ‘therapeutic relationship’.
The idea is that, in these meetings, you can talk about your issues and problems in more safety, and work on them with someone who is not “involved”.
Your therapist or counsellor will have been trained in ways of looking at human problems and human behaviour, and should be able to use these tools to help you understand yourself better.
“Psychotherapy” vs “Counselling”
It has been suggested that psychotherapy tends to be more long-term, reaching ‘deeper’ issues etc. Whilst this may be true in some cases, there are many psychotherapists who work in short-term contracts of only a few sessions.
In the public perception, the term “Counselling” seems to be preferred for its softer impact. People having short-term problems often suggest “Going to a counsellor” for a short-term solution (as seen on TV, in soaps etc.) – it seems there is less of a stigma attached to “Counselling” than there is to “Psychotherapy”.
There are some differences, however, between Counsellors and Psychotherapists.
A UKCP Registered Psychotherapist will have trained to Master’s Degree level. This training can take up to twice as long as counselling training, which is usually at Batchelor’s level. A psychotherapist will also have been in long-term personal therapy for the duration of their training, and probably beyond (I consider this to be an essential part of training and ethical practice) – the requirement is not the same for counselling training.
I am a psychotherapist. However, since there seems to be less of a clear distinction between psychotherapy and counselling in the world ‘out there’, I sometimes use both terms for convenience.