Topics: Psychotherapy, Psychiatry, Family therapy Pages: 6 (1504 words) Published: April 9, 2014










ASSIGNMENT TITLE: Provide a critical analysis of the differences and similarities of counselling and psychotherapy?


4th APRIL 2014

The terms Counseling and Psychotherapy are often used interchangeably. Though they have similar meanings with significant overlap, there are some significant peculiarities between the two that are useful to keep in mind when one is considering a mental health care provider. The paper below will further explore on those distinctions that exist between counselling and psychotherapy.

According to The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2006), counselling is a type of rehabilitation that helps people speak out and resolve their problems and work through their emotional states.The Royal college of Psychiatrists defined a counsellor as an individual who employs “counselling” as a method to resolve people’s problems.Counselors guide clients to discover their own answers and support them through the actions they choose to take.

According to COSCA (2004), psychotherapy, just like counseling, is centered on a healing relationship between health care practitioner and a client. Psychotherapy takes place over a chain of meetings, though frequently it lasts longer than counseling. Some people participate in therapy off and on over several years. Instead of tapering in on individual problems, psychotherapy reflects complete patterns, long-lasting issues, and recurring feelings. This requires an openness to exploring the past and its impact on the present. The main aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the fundamental issues which fuel ongoing grievances. Psychotherapists assist to resolve past experiences as part of laying the base for a satisfying future.

Arbuckle (1967), argues that “…counselling and psychotherapy are in all essential respects equal” One of the most noticeable thing that must be considered concerning the similarities between counselling and psychotherapy is that the classes of issues that pull people to use counselling and psychotherapy are often very alike and the aims of both are similar, both counselling and psychotherapy can be seen as efforts to allow the person to build up resources to live in more healthy, meaningful and satisfying ways, and to develop selfawareness. Also a high degree of respect for the independence/autonomy of the client is a basic code in both counselling and Psychotherapy. With an understanding that the clients bring with them the potential needed to successfully achieve their aims. (COSCA, 2004)

Another similarity that was stated by COSCA is that both counselling and psychotherapy require the therapist to have highly developed skills. COSCA portrays that counsellors and psychotherapists go throughlong training, often lasting several years and their work is continuously supervised by another practitioner/expert who assist them to process and reflect on the matters of worry to their clients (2004: 2). Nevertheless it has been considered that different routes involve considerably different levels of difficulty and length of training and supervision.

Counselling and psychotherapy are both methods of responding to a wide range of human needs accordingly associated with what sometimes called difficulties in living and deeply felt need to make vicissitudes in one’s life. Both counselling and psychotherapy provide possibilities for those seeking help to find their own ways towards living in more satisfying and resourceful ways(Arbuckle 1967).Among the issues they deal or treat are self-confidence or self-esteem, relationship difficulties, work related stress, bullying, problems of drinking, bereavement, mental problems, vague feelings and desire for personal change.

Another area of similarity is that both counselling and psychotherapy may...

References: Arbuckle, D. S. (1967). Counselling and Psychotherapy: An Overview. New York: McGraw
Bayne,R., Bimrose, J. and Horton, I. (eds) (1996). New Directions in Counselling. New
York: Routledge
British Confederation of Psychotherapists (1999). found at Internet URL: Accessed: 15/03/2014
Chriss, J. (1999). Counselling and the Therapeutic State. New York: Aldine De Gruyter
COSCA (2004)
Sutton, J and Stewart, W. (2008). Learning to Counsel. 3rd Edition Oxford: How To Books.
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