Which one should you choose when deciding between counsellor vs therapist?
Counselling is an umbrella term that covers both licensed clinicians with advanced degrees and those offering other forms of counselling.
A therapist may also have advanced degrees but it is a term that covers a wider variety of therapy beyond counselling and includes physical forms of therapy as well. Therapists will also focus more on behaviour reform than other forms of counselling though a counsellor may also practice therapy.
In BC there are associations that provide verification of skills and qualification for therapists and counsellors and those include:
- the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
- British Columbia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- British Columbia Art Therapy Association
- Canadian Addiction Counsellor Certification Federation
- Canadian Art Therapy Association
- Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
- Canadian Professional Counsellors Association
- Music Therapy Association of British Columbia
- International Association of Counseling Hypnotherapists
- Professional Association of Christian Counsellors and Psychotherapists
- North American Drama Therapy Association
A therapist may practice some different approaches and disciplines which include activities such as art, drama, or others.
A counsellor will utilize practices such as hypnosis and/or their unique backgrounds of experience to provide additional insight such as with religious beliefs or things like experiencing addiction.
Counselling could, in some cases, be an advisor of some type and while a Clinical Counsellor according to the BC Clinical Counsellor Association is one that uses established values, techniques and mental health principles to achieve for the patient new skills, capacities and insight into life challenges. A Clinical Counsellor also specializes in helping patients achieve emotional freedom from historical issues or trauma.
When selecting either a counsellor or a therapist it is important to understand what their specialties are. You will also want to know whether they have had experience and past success in treating your particular issues. Trust is of the utmost importance in a therapeutic or counselling relationship so plan an initial session to determine your comfort level and then go from there. A good counsellor or therapist will recommend what type of counselling or therapy will benefit you the most and in some cases will make recommendations if they feel you would be best served by another type of practitioner. When you book your initial consultation and visit feel free to ask questions and explore what type of practices they offer. The best approach is the one that works the best for you.