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 as a brief therapy of 12 sessions or less, while psychotherapy is a longer process and focuses on a deeper range of issues. There are several factors to consider when choosing between brief therapy and psychotherapy. The factors include assessing the duration of the problem and the impact 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 provide the opportunity to build therapeutic relationship and the interaction needed to set goal(s), increase awareness and follow-up actions.

Sometimes, the client presents an issue which 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 across time. For example, a client may present an issue regarding a conflict with her superior. However, after an assessment, the counsellor discovered that the client’s conflict was due to her schema of “I am not good enough” which was derived from adverse childhood experience of being emotionally rejected by her caregiver or being criticised in class. Since the presenting issue is a manifestation of a developmental trauma, the counsellor will propose psychotherapy to process client’s underlying issue(s). The client will have the autonomy to decide if he / she would like to stick to brief therapy or to uncover the deeper underlying issues.



Professional Counselling Services for

• Trauma • Anxiety • Addictions • PTSD • Grief and Loss • Depression

 • Clinical Supervision • Support Group  • Training 

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