Counselling or psychotherapy?

Words don’t seem quite enough to express just how grateful I am for your support over the past 14 months. It has been truly transformational and life changing. You have such a special gift. I’m so fortunate to have found you. Zoe



It can be quite confusing trying to distinguish between these terms as they sometimes overlap each other. However, the best explanation I have heard was from a psychotherapist and counsellor colleague of mine, who said: “a counsellor is the interior designer and a psychotherapist is the architect”.

A counsellor or interior designer works in a much more practical way, however, not so deeply. The counsellor doesn’t work with deep- rooted difficulties that are linked to the past. A counsellor is more likely to help with a specific difficulty, current problem or surface issue.

Architects can change the structure of the house and redesign it. Psychotherapists look into old patterns of behaviour, explore past relationships and types of attachments, process the traumas and help rebuild a personality.

The psychotherapist's work is to facilitate the formation of a more grounded and authentic human being.  Therefore, the work takes longer and is more in depth.

In my counselling practice, the way I work is by offering short term counselling. It is normally 12 sessions, once a week, and it tends to be goal orientated. It is indicated for clients who are going through an anxious and difficult time and need help to get through to the other side. 

In my psychotherapy practice, sessions are more open ended. They vary from six months onwards and I work on an integrative basis, using different theories and techniques. Psychotherapy is indicated for people who are looking for a deeper understanding of themselves and their behaviour or for dealing with long term depression, early childhood trauma, PTSD or simply for people looking for a more meaningful life.

UKCP Marielle Quinlan