Counselling is a relational process based upon the ethical use of specific professional competencies to facilitate human change. It addresses wellness, relationships, personal growth, career development, mental health, and psychological illness or distress. The counselling process is characterized by the application of recognized cognitive, affective, expressive, somatic, spiritual, developmental, behavioural, learning and systemic principles.
Individuals are each affected in their own way by the unique circumstances and problems that they face. Several forms of counselling have evolved to allow for these differences. The “counselling profession” is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of professions, including the following:
Counselling is an intensely individual experience. The number and frequency of sessions that you will need depends on a variety of factors, such as the particular challenges you are facing, how long you have been dealing with them, and how your mental health challenges impact your daily life. Counselling lasts for just a few weeks for some people, while for others it is a permanent part of life.
Although the terms counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling. Counseling is designed to help a person address a specific problem, such as addiction, stress management or the loss of a loved one. The client will typically learn coping techniques relevant to the problem. Examples include problem-solving and communication strategies. Because of the focus on specific problems, counselling tends to be a more short-term approach than therapy.
Psychotherapy is a more long-term approach that focuses on a broader range of issues. It is based on the premise that an individual’s patterns of thought and behaviour, which may stem from a variety of causes including mental illness and trauma, affect the way in which that person interacts with the world around him or her.