Differences Between Counseling and Psychotherapy

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Differences Between Counseling And PsychotherapyWhen it comes to therapy, many people are not aware of the different approaches available to treat addiction. Some addiction treatment therapies focus on the mental/psychological aspect of addiction in order to get to the root of the problem and resolve it, others focus on the physical condition of the addict, assisting them through detoxification and helping to manage the devastating withdrawal symptoms.

Counseling and Psychotherapy are two different approaches utilized to treat addiction and although they may seem the same, and often the terms are used interchangeably, they each have a significant difference. And although they are considered different in the application of addiction treatment, it's good to know that both counseling and psychotherapy are typically needed in order to help an individual overcome his or her emotional or physical trauma.

The term counseling describes a short-term process of therapy in which both the counselor and the client work together to define emotional stressors and work through the problems jointly. Counseling relies heavily on the effort put forth by the client. In rehabilitation facilities, the term "counselor" is applied loosely and can cover a range of staff. Even those without doctorate or masters degrees can call themselves counselors. While counseling can be very helpful, it is important to understand that there is a high likelihood that the counselors themselves may or may not have the accreditation that a psychotherapist does. Also, in terms of mental health, counseling is heavily used to help the recovering addict understand his or her behavior, why it is ultimately self-destructive, and how to replace old abusive behaviors with better and more productive ones.

In contrast, psychotherapy involves counseling sessions conducted by an accredited Psychotherapist. Psychotherapy involves more refined techniques and the psychotherapists usually have an extensive training, in this case, for treating recovering addicts. Psychotherapy is more drawn out, so that the therapist and the client can truly delve into the emotional trauma and work through the problems. Individuals who can qualify as a psychotherapist include psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.

Understanding the difference in the therapies could mean a change of decision when it comes to making the best choices for recovery. For individuals who suffer from deep rooted emotional problems it is much wiser to enlist the assistance of a psychotherapist versus a counselor. Addiction recovery relies heavily on emotional turmoil being resolved, where the individual learns to cope and move on from things that hurt them. Simple group counseling will not be enough to target the specific emotional needs of an individual who suffered from a serious trauma. Cases that should involve a psychotherapist include instances of rape, attempted murder, the loss of a loved one, financial collapse, and other high stress and scarring events.