Distinguishing Between Therapist & Counselor

When we experience physical ailments, we turn to doctors for assistance, and similarly, we seek professional help for our mental well-being. There are various types of practitioners who offer treatment based on our emotional symptoms. It can be confusing to differentiate between a therapist and a counselor due to the similarities in their roles and responsibilities. Therapy and counseling are both essential treatment methods for emotional disorders. Thus, understanding the differences between a therapist and a counselor can help determine which professional to seek during times of emotional distress and behavioral issues.


Therapy is a treatment procedure utilized for both physical and mental disorders. When addressing emotional and behavioral problems, it is referred to as psychotherapy. Doctors commonly prescribe medications to improve symptoms of mental disorders, but therapy plays a crucial role in enhancing the efficacy of these medications. During psychotherapy, the therapist talks with the patient, and the emotions displayed by the patient while discussing their issues provide valuable insight into the root of their problems. Therapy teaches patients new ways to manage their feelings and cope with challenging situations. After therapy sessions, patients find it easier to deal with emotions such as anger, depression, guilt, anxiety, and shyness.

Key Takeaways

  • Therapy is a treatment procedure, whereas counseling is more of an advice to help patients make behavioral changes to resolve mental conflicts.
  • Therapy requires much more skills than counseling.
  • A psychotherapist can work as a counselor, but it is impossible for a counselor to perform the role of a psychotherapist due to lack of required training.


The term “counselor” is derived from counseling, which is similar in meaning to advise. The word is commonly used in various contexts, such as educational counselors, marital counselors, financial counselors, and mental health counselors. In the realm of mental health, counselors are professionals who provide guidance to individuals dealing with mental conflicts and issues in interpersonal behavior. A counselor converses with the patient as a friend to help resolve a mental problem. Counseling focuses on behavioral changes required to cope with problematic situations and relationships.

It is essential to note that there is significant overlap in the roles of therapists and counselors, as both help patients overcome emotional and behavioral problems. While anyone can become a counselor, becoming a psychotherapist requires extensive training and skills. A psychotherapist can work as a counselor, but a counselor cannot perform the role of a psychotherapist without the necessary training.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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