What Is The Difference Between Therapy And Counseling?

Everyone faces adversity in life. During those times, the majority of them need professional health to help them get through it. That is true, especially if the trauma is involved. However, people with mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder require professional help regularly. That usually consists of therapy and medication. Or you could think that those who have mental illnesses need to get counseling and medication because counseling and therapy are the same things.

That is untrue as there is a considerable difference between counseling and therapy. That is confusing for people who use those terms interchangeably. Let’s now talk further about counseling as well as therapy. 

What Is Counseling?

Counseling or psychological counseling helps people cope with problems they are living with through implementing problem-solving techniques. That helps those who are facing addictions or are struggling with managing stress, for example. The counselor provides the individual who struggles with any of those issues tips, and strategies to manage stress or stop the addiction. The individual should implement the plans presented by the counselor daily to heal from the problems they face. 

Therefore, counseling focuses on the practical side of solving a problem that someone faces on an ongoing basis. In addition to that, counseling is short-term, whereas therapy is there to treat someone long-term. 

What Is Therapy?

Therapy or psychotherapy focuses on much deeper issues than having the inability to manage stress, for example. The way someone thinks and behaves can cause self-destruction or harm to others. For instance, someone has lofty goals. However, they never reach them because somewhere along the way, they sabotage themselves. Therapy will help the individual figure out why that is the case, and the therapist will present exercises to the individual to challenge that. 

They gain an understanding of why they behave the way they do and learn how to regulate their thinking and emotional reactions to stressful situations. Another thing about therapy is that it is for the long-term. Counseling addresses issues that present themselves on the surface. Therapy addresses internal and profound problems that cause the individual to interact poorly with others and with themselves. There are different types of treatments, as well. 

What Are The Different Types Of Therapies?

There are different approaches to therapy to help the specific type of issue that someone faces. One kind of therapist is suitable for someone who struggles with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Other types of therapists help people overcome problems that involve relationships or self-sabotaging issues that get into the way of their goals. 

In addition to that, some therapists either conduct sessions one-on-one, and others prefer the family or group-based approach. The types of therapy out there are:

  • Behavioral Therapy – Therapists use this therapeutic approach to help people who have unhealthy behavioral patterns to change their ways. They teach them how to behave in healthier ways, which involve forming new associations when it comes to rewards and punishment. If an individual has a phobia, then the therapist would expose them to a trigger to desensitize them. The purpose of that is for them to conquer the phobia.
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy – Many people sabotage themselves because of issues and conflicts within themselves that are unconscious. The therapist helps bring those issues to a conscious level so the individual can understand them and work with them. Dream analysis is often something that the therapist utilizes to help the individual understand the issues that hold them back. 
  • Humanistic Therapy – This form of therapy involves the idea of people reaching their maximum potential and making logical choices. That is a client-centered approach, and the client is responsible for handling issues that happen within. This therapeutic approach isn’t ideal for those who require psychoanalytic therapy. That is ideal for those who know what holds them back and want to find a method to work around obstacles to do their best. 
  • Cognitive Therapy – Those with a dysfunctional way of thinking that lead to poor lifestyle choices and poor behavior will benefit from this therapy. Cognitive therapy helps the individual recognize poor thinking patterns and beliefs. The therapist helps the client improve their thinking patterns and change their thoughts that aren’t accurate. 
  • Integrative Therapy – That type of therapy is also called holistic therapy. That involves combining two or more therapeutic approaches to fit the clients’ needs. For instance, if the client requires cognitive therapy, but that approach is not enough, the therapist integrates techniques. 

As you can see, counseling is quite different from therapy. It is a hands-on and logical approach to help people live better lives, so they do not allow stress, addiction, and other problems to ruin their lives. If you want to learn more about counseling and how it can help you, read more here


Life is complicated, and it is full of stress. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest with you. That is why people often need therapy or counseling to get through their struggles. Even though counseling and therapy are terms that people use interchangeably, there is a difference between them. 

Counseling involves counselors’ help that teaches you logical ways to handle everyday struggles such as addiction and poor organization through problem-solving techniques. Therapy involves therapists helping people dig deep within to work with struggles they face within that affect their way of living, thinking, and believing. Therefore, the two terms are different, and people must realize the difference.