Can You Differentiate Counseling & Psychotherapy?


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Syed Rizwan Ali Shah Hamdani Profile
Distinctions between Counselling & Psychotherapy
Hahn (1953) writes, "I know few counsellors or psychotherapists who are completely satisfied that clear distinctions have been made". Hahn goes on to point out that the most complete agreements are that counselling and psychotherapy cannot be clearly distinguished; counsellors practice what psychotherapists consider psychotherapy, and psychotherapists practice what counsellors consider to be counselling, and despite the above they are different.

Blocher (1966) distinguishes between counselling and psychotherapy by pointing out that the goals of counselling are ordinarily developmental-educative-preventive, and the goals of psychotherapy are generally remediable-adjustive-therapeutic. He describes those five basic assumptions about client and counsellor differentiate both:
1) Counselling clients are not considered to be "mentally ill", but they are viewed as being capable of choosing goals, making decisions, and generally assuming responsibility for their own behavior and future development.
2) Counseling focuses on present and future.
3) The client is a client, not a patient. The counselor is not an authority figure but is essentially a teacher and partner of the client as they move towards mutually defined goals.

4) The counselor is not morally neutral or amoral but has values, feelings, and standards of his/her own. Although the counselor does not necessarily impose these on clients, he or she does not attempt to hide them.
5) Counselor focuses on changing behavior, not just creating insight.

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