Counselling or Psychotherapy?
People are often confused about the difference between these two terms; I hope that what follows gives a clearer idea of the ways in which they may be different.
Weekly counselling on an open ended basis, or for a specific number of sessions (which we would normally decide on before we start working together), will give you the opportunity to focus on a particular situation or issue which brings you to seek help at this time in your life. Some people, for example, see a counsellor when they are going through an important life change such as the birth of a new baby, children growing and leaving home, retirement and ageing. Many more come at a time of crisis and loss; a period of depression or anxiety, coming to terms with infertility, coping with a death in the family, domestic violence, separation and divorce, emotional/physical sexual trauma in childhood and its consequences, a life changing health diagnosis.
Once or twice a week psychotherapy, which is generally a longer process, usually lasting many months or several years, aims to look in more depth at all aspects of your life and relationships. It offers the opportunity over time to explore your way of relating to the important people in your life and to understand on a deeper level how your thoughts and feelings about yourself shape your day to day experience. It can be particularly useful in making sense of aspects of your life which you find emotionally difficult, and can bring to light ways in which your past experience may be influencing your present in a ways that are not helpful to you.
If you are unsure what would be most useful to you - counselling or psychotherapy - you are not unusual. It is often not possible to be clear in your mind what would be most useful to you until you have had the opportunity to talk this through with a therapist who can help you think about what you need from the process.