The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

I get asked “What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?” by most new clients.  To a therapist there are technical differences but to you the customer, not a lot. It’s a case of ‘same same but different’. The difference between counselling and psychotherapy lies in your goals, the length of time you want to spend on your therapy, the types of tasks you want to undertake, and how deep you want to take your process.

Two wooden figures high-fiving each other  - learn the difference between counselling and psychotherapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Definition of Counselling

According to the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) the definition of counselling is:

“a safe and confidential* collaboration between qualified counsellors and clients to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns. Clients are active participants in the counselling process at every stage.”

I usually think of counselling as a shorter-term process (say 6-10 sessions) when a client has just one issue they are looking for help with e.g. a relationship breakdown. However, they are not wanting to look deeper than that.

Definition of Psychotherapy

PACFA define psychotherapy as:

“the comprehensive and intentional engagement between therapist and client for the healing, growth or transformation of emotional, physical, relationship, existential and behavioural issues, or of chronic suffering, through well-founded relational processes. The aim of psychotherapy is to support increased awareness and choice, and facilitate the development, maturation, efficacy and well-being of a client.

Psychotherapy involves what is known and what may not be known in personal functioning, usually referred to as “conscious and unconscious factors”. Through a holistic perspective it encompasses the mental, emotional, behavioural, relational, existential and spiritual health of a human being.”

So that shows you that we’re taking the process deeper, looking at:

  • Your patterns of behaviour (e.g. panic attacks or how you in self-sabotage relationships);
  • Your beliefs and thought processes;
  • How historical events in your life may have an impact on your behaviour now;
  • How you behave and feel in relationship with others;
  • Looking at the root causes of problems (and how you may have participated in them).

It takes time for these issues to form in you. So it will take time for us to link experiences together and form new patterns. So somewhere between 6 sessions and many.

This is personal development and personal transformation.

So what does that actually mean for you as the client?

When therapy works well, the client and the therapist take time to talk about the client’s goals, the kind of things they want (and don’t want) to do in therapy, what they want to look at, and the time they want to devote to their personal development.  

So let’s talk.  You and me.  What can I help you with?  What is troubling you?  How are you suffering?   

Would you like to do some movement and breathing in your therapy so that you feel? Or just talk and think your way around things?   

How long do you want to devote to your personal development?  6 sessions?  A year?   

And how will we know when therapy has worked for you?  How can we measure the benefits and progress?  What would we see you doing in your life that you are not doing now?  

I hope this explained the difference between counselling and psychotherapy.  If you have questions feel free to contact me on 0450 22 00 59.

Sarah

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett

How many therapy sessions will I need?

How many therapy sessions will I need?

Most of my new clients ask me: “How many therapy sessions will I need?”  To which I usually reply:  “Somewhere between a few and many”.  It depends on whether you align with the ‘illness’ or ‘wellness’ model of therapy.  Hopefully, this article will answer your question:

Old wooden bridge through forest - Your therapy journey with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

It depends on your goals for therapy

Do you want help or support getting over one particular issue in your life, e.g. the break up a relationship, or perhaps to alleviate some unpleasant symptoms?  This is like going to see a doctor about an illness.  In this scenario, I would recommend just as many sessions as you need until you start to feel more stabilized or until your symptoms are reduced.  

But if you follow the ‘wellness’ model then your therapy is more like going to the gym. It is an ongoing work in progress. You go to therapy to work through things as they arise, develop deeper connections with those you care about, and generally improve your quality of life. 

We can look deeper into your core beliefs, the patterns of your relationships and your past. All of which unconsciously affects your life in the present day. 

It depends on how deeply you want to learn about yourself and the way you inhabit this world

Do you just want to put on an emotional band-aid? Or do you want to examine the wound, carefully treating it so that it will heal and cause less pain in your life?   Not everyone is ready to do this.  It takes courage, time and insight.  If you want to learn about the most fascinating subject on the planet  – yourself – then give me a call.

Negative thoughts, unhelpful beliefs, self-sabotaging patterns – these are all things that we can look into in long-term work.  But it’s not a quick fix. 

If you have grown into a way of ‘being’ or a pattern of behaving during the 20/30/40/50 years that you’ve been on this planet, then it’s unlikely we’ll be able to eradicate that in the click of my fingers. 

As it took time to create those patterns of thinking, so will it take time to undo them, learning new neural pathways, trying out new ways of behaving.

Some clients stay in treatment for six months, some for a few years because they find they get so much out of it.

I created the following image to help you understand how might feel after a certain amount of sessions.  The risk is that if you stop too soon, then you may lapse back into familiar (unhelpful) patterns when the next trigger occurs.  (But you can always come back and see me and work on your ‘stuff’ again.)

An illustration of the therapy journey - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

How frequently do I need therapy sessions? Weekly? Fortnightly?

I like to suggest that all new clients come to see me weekly for a few sessions, just so we can make some headway.  Especially so if they are in a crisis.   In the beginning, it’s all about getting to know each other so that I know and understand you, and you know and trust me and it helps if we keep some momentum going.   

After that initial phase, I prefer clients to attend fortnightly so that we continue to make progress.  You are learning a new skill, just like learning a new sport or musical instrument, so keeping a regular session is key to your progression.  If you would like to reserve the same time slot each week or fortnight please let me know and I can book it for you. But this depends on your personal circumstances. 

It depends on your personal circumstances

How many therapy sessions you have also depends on your circumstances:  your availability, your finances, your personal situation.

Sometimes people take a break and come back to me later when they have more time and money, or if they have another issue crop up that they need help with.  I’m always happy to see a familiar face return and hear what they’ve been up to.

How do I know when it’s time to end therapy?

When you think you’ve achieved all you wanted, tell me about it in your session and we can discuss a closure session so that you walk away feeling empowered and good about yourself.  (The opposite of how you would feel if you just walked away).

I’ve written a blog all about this very subject “How to end therapy well” (2 min read).

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How many therapy sessions will I need? was last modified: October 7th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett