Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Counselling and Psychotherapy

There have been attempts to differentiate between
counselling and psychotheraphy. Very often both these
terms are viewed as overlapping areas and are used
interchangeably (Truax and Carkhuff (1967), Corey
(1991) and Patterson (1974, 1986). In general,
counselling has been characterized by words like
educational, vocational, supportive, situational, problem
solving, counscious awareness, emphasis on ‘normals’
and short term. Psychotherapy has been described with
terms like supportive, reconstructive, depth emphasis,
analytical, focus on the uncounsicious, emphasis on
neurotics or other sever emotional and long term
Richard Nelson-Jones (2000) also agrees with the
considerable overlap between counselling and
psychotherapy. However, in his writings he uses terms
counselling and counsellor in preference to therapy and
therapist. He regards counselling as a less elite term
than therapy. Some of the differences noted by different
scholars are psychotherapy focuses on personality
change of some sort while counselling focuses on
helping people to use existing resources for coping with
life better (Tyler, 1961).
 Psychotherapy deals with moresevere disturbance and is a more medical term than

counselling. It is important to note that counselling
and psychotherapy use the same theoretical modes and
‘stress the need to value the client as a person, to listen
sympathetically and to hear what is communicated, and
to foster the capacity for self-help and responsibility’
(BPS Division of Clinical Psychology, 1979).
In brief, psychotherapy is the treatment of psychological
disorders by psychological means within the framework
of existing psychological theories. It is conducted by
psychologist, psychiatrists, or other mental health
professional who are highly trained in the field.
Psychotherapy is a formal and structured process.
However, counselling does not depend on psychological
means alone to provide benefits to the client. Counselling
may utilize processes such as restructuring the client’s
environment or recommending leisure pursuits.
Counselling is not based upon any specific psychological
theory; rather, it uses practical techniques derived from
different forms of psychotherapy, as appropriate to the
situation. Finally, counselling is far less formal and
structured than psychotherapy. It is more flexible.