Question 1: Analyse the differences and similarities between counselling and psychotherapy making reference of the terms ‘Counsellor’ and ‘Psychotherapist’.
A common misconception about Counselling and Psychotherapy is that it is simply an advice giving service, this view is further perpetuated by the practices of dictionaries who define counselling as,” The job or the process of listening to someone and giving them advice about their problems.” (Cambridge dictionary, 2007)1 This perception is also popularised as such in movies like “The Accidental Husband” and the hit TV show, ‘Frasier’, which saw Uma Thurman and Kelsey Grammar portray radio counsellors that gave advice, respectively.
However despite the popularisation of the image of the counsellor or psychotherapist providing an advice service, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth, at least according to The British Association for Counselling (BAC) 2010, who states on their website,” Therapy is not advice giving or persuasion orientated to the therapist's point of view”.
The British Association for Counselling (BACP), 1986a, instead defines counselling as “Counselling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources. The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully.” the BAC goes on to define the role of the counsellor as “The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the clients work in ways that respect the client’s values, personal resources and capacity for self-determination. (1986b)3.
Norcross, (1990) defines Psychotherapy as, ‘Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviours, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable.”
The question as to wherever Counselling and Psychotherapy are one and the same is an on-going debate. It’s a question, to which, no answer has been absolute although it hasn’t stopped leading bodies in the profession to try to differentiate or play down differences between the two processes. Some professionals such as Truax and Carkhuff (1967) use the terms “Counsellors” and “Psychotherapist” interchangeably, whilst Patterson (1974) concludes that there are no differences.
It certainly can be argued that it is one and the same when you consider that Counselling and Psychotherapy are talking therapeutic processes that would involve interaction between trained professionals and clients either individually or in a group (family, couples etc). The common goal is to improve the client’s well-being.
The Counsellor and Psychotherapist are also trained listeners that aim to provide support to their clients/patients in an empathetic environment, and in a non-biased, non-judgemental manner. Any information presented by the client would be treated with confidentiality.
Despite the similarities in Counselling and Psychotherapy; differences such as, the length of time the client is treated, the type of clients that are treated, and credentials to practice have been cited between the two.
Psychotherapists are seen as to be concerned with the reorganisation of the client’s personality and personality change, whereas counsellors are far more concerned with helping the client utilise their own resources.
Psychotherapists would generally be more experienced than Counsellors, and are expected to undergo a more in-depth training which typically details how to work with clients with a wider range of mental health and emotional issues. Because Psychotherapy is a therapy that mainly has interactions with clients history of pathology and psychological problems, the clients would tend to...
References: 3.1986a and 1986b- BAC (1986) Counselling-Definition of terms in use with expansion and rationale (Information Sheet 1).
4. Norcross, J.C. (1990). An eclectic definition of psychotherapy. In J.K. Zeig & W.M. Munion (Eds.), What is psychotherapy? Contemporary perspectives (218-220). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
6. Patterson, C.H (1974) relationship and psychotherapy, New York, Harper and Row.
7. Deffenbacher,J. L. (1985) A cognitive-behavioural response and a modest
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