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Counsellor or Psychotherapist?

The terms "counsellor" and "psychotherapist" are often used interchangeably and have many similarities, but there are some important differences as well. Both are considered ‘talking therapies’ however counselling generally refers to short-term consultation while psychotherapy typically refers to longer-term treatment.

Counselling also typically deals with present issues that are easily resolved on the conscious level whereas psychotherapy intensively and extensively examines a person’s psychological history. In other words, counselling is more concerned with practical or immediate issues and outcomes while psychotherapy is more focused on helping a person understand his/her life in a profound and reflective manner.

Counselling can also help a client process powerful emotions such as grief or anger, deal with immediate causes of stress and anxiety, clarify values and identify options when making important personal or professional decisions, manage conflicts within relationships, develop better interpersonal and communication skills, or intentionally change unproductive thoughts and behaviours.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is an evolutionary process that helps a person look at long-standing attitudes, thoughts, and behaviours that have resulted in the current quality of one’s life and relationships.

It goes much deeper to uncover root causes of problems, resulting in more dramatic changes in perspective regarding oneself, one’s life experience, and the world in general. Ultimately, psychotherapy aims to empower the individual by freeing him/her from the grip of unconscious triggers or impulses through increased self-awareness.

Both counselling and psychotherapy can be used to treat a range of mental health issues and may use a number of approaches depending on the client’s presentation, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and much more.

If you want to know more about what counselling and psychotherapy involves and whether it might be right for you, feel free to make contact for a no obligation chat about your requirements. Contact Simon on 0423 382 447 or email

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