Counseling & Psychotherapy

There seems to be a clouded understanding of what Counseling is and its difference from Psychotherapy. In India atleast, there are quite a few misconceptions. To spell the most basic point first, psychological counseling is not advice giving. And CBT, REBT, Father Fuster’s barefoot counseling, Carkhuff’s model, etc are very FEW TYPES of Counseling, they are not the only approaches.

Having spelled that out, to put forth my view, experience, research and understanding on Counseling & Psychotherapy:

Counseling and Psychotherapy are facilitative and analytical processes for furthering growth to a degree. Where they differ according to me, is in one main area, of what it employs to work with- Transference. Psychotherapy, for it to be successful, will REQUIRE to employ Transference. Counseling, depending on which approach and type is followed by the practitioner, may/ may not work with the Relationship between the counselor and client in a “client-projected” sense of way, and base it mostly on dispensing information and on the CONTENT provided verbally, non-verbally by the client. This is generally followed in brief therapy. The longer the therapy gets, ‘transference’ has to be understood by the therapist, and it forms a map, a ladder- for the client, to work his/her way out to any personal, perceptive restructuring or changed view of life. That is central to psychotherapy.

For a client, what matters is reaching the goal- this way or that! Only practitioners, aware of a larger spectrum of approaches, are in a position to assist a client in helping them find the best fit for them, for their growth process- be it out of a problem, issue, crisis or a long standing vague lacuna.

When open, flexible and working together, the benefit is larger; for the client, and in the long-run, for the practitioners too.


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