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Counselling and Psychotherapy

Work One


Counselling is the professional guidance provided to individuals / groups utilizing psychological methods. It is interesting to note that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines counsel (1) as ‘advice given especially as a result of consultation or a policy or plan of action or behaviour; and it defines counseling (2) as ‘professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes’. In other words help a person receives to resolve his/her social or personal problems.

Earlier, the traditional joint family system provided this help as there were a lot of resources within a family. With industrialization, globalization and the growth of the nuclear family system, the resources dwindled. With more challenges being thrown up on a daily basis, the need for professional help only increased.

Therefore, in today’s modern world everyone needs help. Some can do with help from family, friends, relatives, mentors or well-wishers. However, with evolving complexities and almost non-existent or superficial relationships most people need more help that can come only from a trained counsellor. Just a heart to help is not enough though that is the place it has to start.

So, if one feels suffocated, stuck, unable to move forward or lonely, or in short if their day to day functioning is affected, it is time to go for counselling – as simple as going to the doctor as the fever has not come down with 'over the counter' drugs and it is hampering the daily functioning.

Work One


The difference between counselling and psychotherapy is very small and it is only becoming narrower. Counselling predominantly works with developmental issues and immediate issues that affect a person. For some other people, the issues / problems have started at childhood and require help at a more deeper level. Psychotherapy works predominantly with clinical problems (symptoms that have a medical history too). While the term counselling and counsellor is used loosely, the term psychotherapy and psychotherapists has a lot of restrictions in many countries. Only trained Psychologists and Psychiatrist are allowed to use it provided they are trained under a regulated body.

Professionally, a person is given the title of a psychotherapist after a certain amount of training as well as a certain years of practice in a particular theoretical model. It would be good to check the training of a person before availing their services. No trained and experienced person would be offended but would rather be more than willing to inform you of their specialties and how you could be helped.