Psychotherapy, Counseling and You: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding psychotherapy, counseling, and other services psychological professionals provide can seem like a daunting prospect. Are therapy and counseling different things? What about psychiatry? How do I choose a therapist? What will he or she expect of me as a patient? And what should I be talking about with my therapist, anyway?

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a term used to describe the treatment of a mental disorder by psychological, not medical, means. Psychiatry, on the other hand, refers to the treatment of a mental disorder using medical (usually pharmaceutical) intervention. Psychiatrists must attend medical school. Psychotherapists are not required to, although some do. The words “counseling” and “therapy” are often used interchangeably, but can refer to two different processes. Counseling is a term used to describe being guided, by a counselor or coach, through stages intended to illuminate a patient about his or her mental state. Psychotherapy, or…

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