Counselling vs Psychotherapy

Counselling vs Psychotherapy

Although the terms counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between them. Counselling is usually referred to as a brief therapy of 12 sessions or less. Psychotherapy addresses a deeper range of issues; thus, it will take 20 sessions or more. There are several factors to consider when choosing between brief therapy and psychotherapy. The factors include exploring the severity of the issue and its impacts on your life. 


Brief therapy is often appropriate for situational issues such as stress management, conflicts at work, communication, decision making, relationship and behavioural issues. A minimum of 8 sessions is recommended to build a therapeutic relationship, process insights,  increase awareness and develop possibilities to achieve goals.

Sometimes, the client presents an issue that may seem resolvable through brief therapy. However, after several sessions, it is discovered that the presenting issue is a manifestation of a deeper underlying issue, which spans a period of time. For example, the client seeks counselling because of a conflict with a supervisor. After an assessment, the counsellor discovered that the client's conflict was due to the schema of "I am in danger", which derived from the adverse childhood experience of being constantly criticised and rejected by authority figures. 


Since the presenting issue is a manifestation of the client's childhood trauma, the counsellor will propose psychotherapy to process the client's underlying issue(s). The client will have the autonomy to decide if he/she would like to stick to brief therapy or address the deeper underlying issues for long term wellbeing.

At Restoring Peace, we do a comprehensive assessment of the issue you bring into therapy and advise you based on our assessment of your situation.