What Is The Difference Between A Therapist And A Counselor?

It seems that the terms counseling and therapy are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are differences. While both of these terms describe treatments for mental health issues and involve talking with a trained professional. They include discussing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to understand them better. When you participate in either counseling or therapy, you are working collaboratively to promote mental wellness, and there is an overlap between the two.

What is A Counselor?

Counselor is a term used broadly to refer to professional training in psychology, counseling, social work, or various other fields. Mental health counselors are professionals working to help people achieve better mental health. They can perform a variety of functions, and their duties can include conducting evaluations, providing education, providing information resources to their clients, and making suggestions that the client or patient can use to help them manage the problem they are facing. Often mental health counselors will specialize in addressing a particular issue like substance abuse, sexual abuse, marriage and relationships, or family counseling.

What is a Therapist?

A therapist is someone who has been professionally trained to provide therapy to a patient or client that addresses either mental or physical disorders. There are many examples of therapy in physical medicine, such as physical therapists and occupational therapists. In the context of mental health, the term mental health therapist is common. Just like with counselors, therapists can specialize in particular client issues such as marriage and family issues, substance abuse, or overcoming trauma.

What Are The Differences Between The Two?

You might be thinking they sound very similar, and you’re right. Mental health counselors and therapists occupy some of the same professional space. They often treat the same issues within the same patient populations, and sometimes, even within the industry, the terms are used interchangeably in some contexts.

One key difference is in the approach to the treatment they take. For instance, counseling often practically addresses a specific problem, challenge, or behavior in the patient’s life. Like giving someone who suffers from anxiety a series of tactics, they can use to calm their anxiety and avoid or calm a panic attack. It tends to use a problem-solving approach.

Therapists, however, work to help their patients address similar issues and even provide the same advice counselors do; however, a key difference is that therapists often seek to go deeper by assisting patients in understanding how and why they face a certain challenge. Identifying the root cause of their issues can help address them and work toward lasting change.

Counseling is sometimes thought of as a short-term approach aiming to arm clients with tools they can use immediately to begin living healthier lives. However, therapy is often a longer-term process that can last months or even years to address root issues and make lasting changes. Despite the differences, there is significant overlap between therapists and counselors who typically are master’s level clinicians licensed by the state where they practice.

How Do I Know Which One Is Right For Me?

Suppose you’re interested in improving your mental health and want to proceed with either counseling or therapy. That’s a significant step. Many adults will face mental health issues during their lifetime; recent research shows that roughly 12% of adults will receive mental health treatment.

If you’re unsure where to start, it can be helpful to consider your current difficulties and determine what you’d like to gain from treatment before you begin. Additionally, you can read about the different types of treatments that are available. Some treatments and therapies are better suited for certain conditions than others. Looking up mental health professionals’ profiles, expertise, and training can help determine if they may be a good fit for you. We offer more information here about how to find the right therapist.

Where Can I Go For Help?

At Collective Counseling Solutions, we work with counselors and therapists all over America. We specialize in working with counselors and therapists who accept insurance payments; this can significantly reduce your ongoing mental health services cost. If you’re ready to speak to a counselor or therapist, help is available now. Contact us today to get started on your mental health journey.

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