Differences Between Counseling and Psychotherapy

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Differences Between Counseling and Psychotherapy Counseling Theories August 3, 1995 Running head: Coun. v. Psychotherapy Counseling v. psychotherapy is there a difference between the two? This paper will attempt to prove that there are several differences between counseling and psychotherapy. While counseling and psychotherapy have several different elements in each, the following information will also attempt to show the reader that there are some areas where the two overlap. At times this was a confusing topic to research. A fine line distinguishes the two topics and one must look hard to see this line. Definition of Counseling One survey taken by Gustad suggests a definition of counseling where he included three key elements. Counseling is a learning-oriented process, carried on in a simple, one to one social environment, in which a counselor, professionally competent in relevant psychological skills and knowledge, seeks to assist the client by methods appropriate to the latter's needs and within the context of the total personnel program, to learn more about himself, to learn how to put such understanding into effect in relation to more clearly perceived, realistically defined goals to the ` end that the client may become a happier and more productive member of his society (1957, p. 36). In lay terms counseling can be described as a face to face relationship, having goals to help a client to learn or acquire new skills which will enable them to cope and adjust to life situations. The focus is to help a person reach maximum fulfillment or potential, and to become fully functioning as a person. Definition of Psychotherapy Psychotherapy is the process inwhich a therapists assists the client in re-organizing his or her personality. The therapist also helps the client integrate insights into everyday behavior. Psychotherapy can be defined as "more inclusive re-education of the individual" (Brammer& Shostrom,1977). Objectives of counseling The objectives of counseling according to the Committee on Definition, Division of Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association are to "help individuals toward overcoming obstacles to their personal growth, wherever these may be encountered, and toward achieving optimum development of their personal resources" (Arbuckle, 1967). In a paper written by Dr. T. Millard, it is stated that "Counseling provides clarity and a positive and constructive venue for the individual to sensibly examine the instinctive-emotional and rational (or irrational) motives which determine the drive, content, and even the form of human conduct." This shows the part which counseling plays in a clients treatment.
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