WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Briefly, counselling is usually focused on helping you solve a particular difficulty. It is more often short-term and offers help in approaching situations differently through the way you might think or behave.
Psychotherapy is more in-depth and longer term and is less focused on a specific problem but rather deals with how we are in the world and, in particular, in relation to others. The focus is on gaining insight about how we feel and behave enabling choices to be made.
In practice there is a degree of overlap between the two approaches. However, psychotherapy requires longer training and whereas a psychotherapist may be able to offer counselling a counsellor cannot offer psychotherapy.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH IS FOR ME?
There is no hard and fast rule but basically if your concerns are fairly narrowly focused then counselling is likely to be useful. If you feel that your concerns cover a wide range of issues or have been on-going for some time the psychotherapy might be more helpful. However, it is so important that you feel you can get on with and form a relationship with the therapist or counsellor.
IS IT CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes, all information is regarded as confidential. There are some exceptional circumstances where this might not apply, for example if I felt you were a risk to yourself or to others when I might be ethically required to inform your GP - but I would try to agree this step with you first. In practice, breaking confidentiality is a rare event.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A THERAPIST?
Psychotherapy can be time-consuming and expensive. The following tips will help you select a therapist who best meets your needs. Find someone you feel comfortable with. Although you are not entering into a friendship with a therapist you need to feel able to open up and be honest with them if you withhold information you cheat yourself out of making progress. Just like any other relationship you and your therapist need to ‘gel’.