What are Counselling and Psychotherapy?


Counselling takes place in a setting that is both private and confidential and is an active and collaborative process between you and your counsellor. It is an opportunity for you to think about and explore your difficulties with a professional person who is trained in listening and empathising, helping you to make sense of what is troubling you and to find a way forward. An experience of openness, honesty and trust is created as your relationship with your counsellor develops and this alone can be extremely healing.

More specifically, your counsellor will help you explore, discover and gain better understanding of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. This is a process through which you can become more aware of your habitual patterns and ways of responding and how they are affecting your life. Your counsellor may sometimes suggest a new approach or way of looking at things, which can lead to the discovery of an increased sense of choice and direction.

Counselling is often an approach that has a focus on the immediate or pressing problem and is usually short term. This is frequently for a period of 6 to 12 weeks and in some cases it can be longer.


Like counselling, privacy, confidentiality and working collaboratively, is of central importance in psychotherapy. In addition to helping with the kinds of difficulties brought to counselling, psychotherapy is often the more usual choice for helping with more deep seated psychological problems that may have built up over a long period of time, often from childhood.

The approach used in psychotherapy is very similar to that used in counselling. The difference generally is that psychotherapists have a longer and more in-depth training in working with the more chronic or difficult problems, also that psychotherapy often takes place over a longer period of time.

The length of time involved in psychotherapy often leads to a deeper, more established relationship between client and therapist in which more profound and deep seated issues can be explored in a greater sense of safety.