Therapy or counselling

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Opinions differ but I feel like therapy and counselling often overlap and I find in my work that I do both.

I understand counselling as essentially a listening process, through which people gain perspective, find a voice and share their experiences without judgement or criticism. This process can be illuminating, empowering or cathartic. Sometimes sharing your story is a first step toward changing the narrative.

In therapy the client works towards a process of change. This may involve explorations and insights, it may involve discoveries and challenges. But the process should be held safely by the therapist and the direction or purpose of change should be agreed and understood by the client, usually through an agreed contract.

In simple terms, counselling tends to be shorter, often focussed on one particular issue, whereas therapy may take longer and be more open to exploration.

Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not sure. The first session is a good time to ask questions.