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.