What is the difference between counseling and therapy?

Though most people switch between the terms counseling and therapy interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two services. In fact, a “counselor” and a “therapist” belong to two separate categories in the mental health professional field. Although some of the services they provide may overlap, they have different training and licensing.


Before starting either counseling or therapy, it’s important to know the key differences between these two mental health services. Read on for an overview of both counseling and therapy treatments before starting Denver Men’s Therapy.


Overview of Therapy Treatments

Therapists are licensed to treat a range of mental health conditions. People go to therapy for a number of reasons - to treat mental health and mood disorders, to talk about underlying issues that impact their lives, to discuss family issues, and much more. Some therapists even hold specializations in certain areas, like trauma-informed therapy, neurodivergent-focused therapy, or hold space for those who come from marginalized backgrounds.


Some other issues that therapy might help treat include:


  • Grief or loss of a loved one

  • Stress

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Sexual trauma

  • PTSD

  • Family or relationship issues


Not one type of therapy fits every individual, either. Your therapist may be trained in certain treatments like Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR). You can also attend therapy sessions via one-on-one with your therapist, group settings with other individuals, or with a partner or family member.

Overview of Counseling Treatments

Like therapists, counselors offer a range of mental health services to suit your needs. These licensed, clinical mental health professionals focus on your personal well-being through a more holistic approach. Treatments typically focus inward towards your unique set of abilities and strengths. As they help guide you towards your goals, you’ll notice improvements in your daily life - including areas like your career, relationships, education, and mental wellness.


The most typical issues that counseling assists with are:


  • Anxiety and depression

  • Alcohol and substance abuse

  • PTSD and trauma recovery

  • Anger management

  • Self-esteem or self-image issues

  • Grief counseling

  • Marital or relationship counseling


Counseling services often focus on any present-day issues you might be facing. These frameworks often don’t approach any deep-seated issues, traumas, or processes. However, counseling is often a more gentle approach for many when seeking therapy and mental health services.


The goal of both therapy and counseling services is to help improve your quality of life and provide relief from your symptoms. Talk therapy via counseling services can be extremely beneficial as a gateway to creating a more specific mental health treatment plan.


Interested in starting counseling services or looking to find the right services for your mental health issues? Visit Elevated Counseling to get started.

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