Counselling and psychotherapy are talking therapies. That is, they are treatments which offer people the space to talk through their problems and concerns with a qualified professional. The two terms are often used interchangeably, and the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), of which I am an accredited member, doesn’t differentiate between them. It holds the view that whether a practitioner uses the title of counsellor, psychotherapist or both, they should have the training and ability to work with clients on a range of issues, both short and long term, to help them effect change in their lives or improve their wellbeing.
Those who take a different viewpoint largely consider the differences to be either in the level of training completed, or in the length and depth of the therapy. It is often said that psychotherapy involves working at greater depth and over a longer time period than counselling. I offer both short-term and long-term therapy and generally refer to myself as a counsellor/psychotherapist.
Working with clients over a longer time period usually involves addressing deeper rooted emotional and relational problems, which may have their origins in the past, whereas shorter term therapy is likely to be focused more on managing difficulties and making adjustments in the present.