VIDEO BLOG: The Difference Between Counseling and Psychotherapy

By Shawn Smith M.Ed., CCC


One question I get asked with some frequency is:

What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?

Counseling typically has a predetermined to start and end.

The insurance provider will have a set amount of sessions the individuals permitted to have, within a set amount of time.

Psychotherapy is an ongoing therapeutic relationship with no predetermined end.

In counseling, the individual typically describes how the symptoms have manifested and is looking for a solution to the perceived problem. Whereas psychotherapy explores the underlying issues that may have caused the symptoms to manifest.

Let’s use an analogy to differentiate between the two. Let’s say that while riding your bike you fall and scrape your knee. Counseling would help you clean and bandage wounds so that you can get back on your bike again as soon as possible. Counseling should also provide the resources you need to clean in bed is your knee if you should happen to falloff your bike again. Whereas psychotherapy would explore the underlying causes of why you fell off your bike in the first place.

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Shawn Smith M.Ed., CCC is the proud founder and CEO of Don’t dis-my-ability consultation services Inc., an innovative, multifaceted company specializing in the emerging field of Neurodiversity located in Fredericton New Brunswick, Canada.

Shawn’s story is unique in that he was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive Type at age 30. Prior to his diagnosis, Shawn struggled at every level of the public education system. It took Shawn 4 years to complete 3 years of high school, 32 attempts to earn the 18 credits required to graduate including failing grade 10 math 4 times.

Since being diagnosed and taking prescribed medication at age 30, Shawn has experienced a tremendous amount of self-growth in a relatively short period of time and has a unique understanding of his thought process. In 2010 Shawn was accepted to the Master of Education in Counselling Psychology program at the University of New Brunswick on Academic Probation and graduated in 2011 at the top of his class.

Shawn is a self-advocate, entrepreneur, innovator, counsellor and psychotherapist specializing in the emerging field of Neurodiversity. Shawn is a director at large for the Technology in Counselling Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a board member of the New Brunswick Career Development Action Group (NBCDAG).

For inquiries regarding keynote and other speaking engagements please contact Shawn directly at shawn@ddmacs.ca.

“Don’t dis-my-ability; I may not learn in a conventional manner but this does not mean I cannot learn, only that you have not been able to reach me”. © For more information, visit Shawn’s site: www.ddmacs.ca

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