Counselling generally refers to short-term consultation while psychotherapy typically refers to longer-term treatment. Counselling 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 normally helps 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, which 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.

Coaching is goal oriented and directed towards something you are looking to achieve. Personal coaches assist articulate the goal, the blockers and help you establish and track to a plan for your goal. Holding you accountable along the way 🙂

Referring on to Psychologists, Psychiatrists and other professionals:  It seems a commonly discussed and confused area.  There are long explanations but to try and simplify it; Psychiatrists are medical GPs first (biological and physical health) who then take on additional psychology education to specialise in mental illnesses (similar but not as much as Psychologists generally).    Psychologists work with mental health specifically and tend to work around mental illnesses and issues relating to psychosis: significant interference with someone’s ability to meet life’s demands.  This is mental illness that prevents or interferes with logical or realistic thinking for example.  Both these professions can go on to further studies that may leave either of them specialised beyond the other in certain fields.

After a chat with qualified psychologist we seemed to settle on a neat distinction for someone to help decide between seeing a counsellor verse a psychologist – A counsellor can assist someone working with day to day life challenges and whom would still be able to make choices and changes to correct those challenges themselves with some reflection, discussion, tools and techniques.  A psychologist is better placed to assist once someone can not overcome those challenges themselves.

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