What is Counseling &Psychotherapy?

by | Oct 30, 2022 | mentalhealth

What is Counseling &Psychotherapy?

Counseling has a few terms that can describe it’s process. Whether we call it counseling, talk therapy or psychotherapy we are pretty much referring to the same thing. I prefer to use the term counseling when I am referring to “talk therapy” and I use psychotherapy when I refer to more cutting edge approaches to therapy like EMDR, EFIT or Internal Family Systems.

According to the American Counseling Association, counseling is:

A collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.

Who can receive Counseling & Psychotherapy?

Both counseling & psychotherapy can be used to support individuals, groups and families that are struggling with:

  • Emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety, stress, low-self-esteem, worthlessness, work performance anxiety and other nervous disorders caused by anxiety and stress.
  • Relationship problems which compromise intimate, familial, social and work relationships.
  • Trauma, grief or life crises.
  • Fear and phobias.
  • Physical symptoms due to anxiety and stress, including psychosomatic disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia.
  • A history of emotional, physical or sexual abuse & addictions that are causing difficulties in a person’s current life.
  • If you think you may benefit from psychotherapy, a referral can be made to a qualified psychotherapist for an assessment.

What are the Key benefits of Counseling & Psychotherapy:

  • A good therapist can help you move forward in your life
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy can help you to find freedom and relief from past pain, depression, grief, anxiety etc.
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy gives you time and space to work through your pain & problems
  • Therapy helps you gain a different perspective on problems and issues
  • Therapy provides a safe, non-judgemental and respectful space for you to unmask & unburden yourself
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy can help you regain your sense of worthiness, wholeness, wellbeing and balance in your life
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy often helps to increase clients clarity & self-awareness that empowers them to think more clearly and make better decisions
  • Therapy can help with improving and maintaining relationships
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy helps unlock your true potential

How does it work

Often time potential clients recognize that they have reached their limit in trying to solve their life, career, relationship, physical & mental health problems on their own and now need professional help. After a consultation with the right licensed therapist a person in need of counseling will go through a series of steps in the process. Some of these steps include going through an intake, assessment and then treatment goal planning.

All of these steps are vitally in creating a road map for the healing & growth process.

Each step in the process affords the client the opportunity to build a trusting and professional relationship with their therapist. Counseling is both a science and an art. Which is why therapist spend hours in grad school, internships and practicums to help them to develop and grow in their counseling skills and identity.

How long are the counseling sessions & How often do you have them?

I typically meet with my client via a HIPPA compliant  telehealth (online) platform for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on the clients need & situation. On average, clients spend about an hour each time they come in for a session.

How long will counseling last?

The length of the therapeutic process actually varies based on the client’s needs and goals. There are a lot of factors that can influence how long a person may be in therapy. Some clients come to therapy and after 2 or 3 sessions they feel better and move on. Others may continue in counseling for a year or more as they continue to pursue goals and practice skills. Typically, the time in counseling is somewhere in between 6 months to when the client has reached their therapy goals.

Regardless of the length of treatment, a final session is important so we can summarize the work that has been done in counseling and say our “good-byes.” This resolution is associated with better long-term outcomes when compared with an abrupt termination of services.

Many of my clients choose to have “booster sessions” after regular counseling sessions have ended. For example, you may have had 16 weekly sessions and decide that is sufficient. You might call for a follow-up session several months or even years after weekly sessions have ended. These booster sessions serve as a sort of “tune-up” to help you stay on track and continue to use the skills you learned from the counseling journey.


Tamera J. Brown, LPC



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