What is the difference between “counselling” and “psychotherapy”?

The terms “counselling” and “psychotherapy” are often used interchangeably, but there can be subtle differences between the two. Counselling usually focuses on specific issues with steps that move toward a solution. There may be little attention paid to the role of past experiences. Psychotherapy, however, may involve an exploration of the deeper root causes that lead to distress, anxiety, or a general feeling of malaise. Depending on the therapist, it may also incorporate body-mind practices. Regardless of the terms and methods used, what’s essential is the therapist’s attunement to and acceptance of the client, and the significant events that the client wants to focus on.

Social workers have been providing counselling and psychotherapy services for many years. In 2000, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) was established to oversee the work of social workers. Anyone identifying as a social worker must be registered with the College. I have been registered with the College since its inception. Most private health benefits programs cover the services of social workers who have a Master’s Degree and are registered with the College.

In April 2015, the new Council of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) began to develop standards and procedures to regulate the work of registered psychotherapists. The College is still in the process of negotiating with private health benefits programs for coverage.

Few people today have the time or financial resources to invest in years of counselling or psychotherapy. Working with a professional whose approach incorporates trainings in a variety of methods or modalities is the best way for clients to effectively and efficiently achieve results.

My services are covered under most insurance plans.
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