WHAT ARE COUNSELING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Both are processes of interactions between a person desiring help with problems and difficulties in living, and a person trained in psychological techniques and principles who is offering to be of help.
Counseling usually refers to techniques designed to help a person deal more effectively with current stresses and problems. These may involve coping with loss, dealing with stress at work or home, fostering better family relationships, improving self-esteem, or improving parenting effectiveness. Counseling is usually present oriented, educational, and preventive. Task oriented cognitive and behavioral approaches may be used to help the client to develop techniques and strategies to help them deal more effectively with conflict, become more self-aware and develop a better overall self-understanding.
Psychotherapy is also a process of trying to help a person become better able to cope with difficult life experiences, symptoms of emotional distress and loss of the ability to function in a healthy and productive way. Based more on a medical model, the person in treatment may be referred to as a patient, by the therapist and/or their physician. Psychotherapy may incorporate past experiences, focus on symptoms such as depression or anxiety, and focus on alleviating suffering, distress or disability the patient is experiencing emotionally or behaviorally.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE PROCESS?
Counseling and Therapy are both collaborative ventures between you and the person helping you with problems and difficulties. Open communication, trust, honesty and a mutual desire to improve your situation and experience are all involved. Your active participation in the therapy process can greatly facilitate your reducing your symptoms and reaching your therapy goals. It is extremely important that you act responsibly by attending all scheduled appointments or giving adequate notice if you cannot attend for legitimate reasons. Successful psychotherapy requires greater participation and cooperation from you than is usually true of treatment for most physical problems. Your efforts play a crucial role in determining how much benefit will occur from the process. Your active and assertive participation in the process may include “homework” assigned by your therapist. This may include keeping a journal, measuring progress on a chart, reading or other activities designed to foster personal growth and help you achieve your therapeutic goals.