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  • Sabrina Lacasse

Counselling vs. Psychotherapy: Understanding the Differences

The terms "counselling" and "psychotherapy" often surface in mental health support, sometimes used interchangeably. However, a closer look reveals distinct characteristics that set each apart. At Lacasse Counselling, we believe it is essential for people seeking support to understand the different terms used so that they can make informed decisions.


In the most simplistic sense, counselling is solution-focused and typically short-term. It addresses present-day concerns, whether navigating grief from a recent loss, managing stress from life's transitions, or handling challenges. Clients receive actionable insights, tools, and strategies tailored to their immediate needs through counselling.


Stemming from the Greek "psyche" (soul or mind) and "therapeia" (healing), psychotherapy embarks on a more profound, extended journey. Rather than just addressing symptoms or surface issues, it delves into the roots, exploring historical patterns, ingrained behaviours, and past traumas. The overarching aim of psychotherapy is to promote profound personal growth and transformative inner change.

Contextual Differences:

It is essential to point out that the interpretation and application of these terms can vary based on region.

For instance, in Ottawa, Ontario, where our clinic is based, "psychotherapy" is not just a conceptual term. It's a defined practice under the Psychotherapy Act 2007, overseen by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Here, psychotherapy addresses emotional, cognitive, and behavioural disturbances, all within a therapeutic relationship built on effective communication.

Specific therapeutic approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or person-centred therapy, can be integrated into counselling and longer-term psychotherapy frameworks. This adaptability showcases the versatility of mental health techniques, even if it occasionally blurs the distinctions between the two.

At Lacasse Counselling, our focus on psychotherapy is understood as an integral facet within the broader spectrum of counselling. We take a comprehensive approach that holistically addresses the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of each individual. By ensuring that therapy engages with the person as a whole, we are not just addressing symptoms but helping to foster deep personal growth and transformation. With a team of dedicated therapists, each bringing their unique expertise and approach, our clinic ensures that every client receives personalized care.

Which Path Should You Choose?

It's essential to understand that neither counselling nor psychotherapy universally outshines the other. The most suitable choice rests on an individual's unique situation and requirements. Some may find the immediate support of counselling more aligned with their needs, particularly when facing abrupt life transitions. Meanwhile, those contending with deep-rooted emotional challenges or recurrent negative patterns might lean towards the introspective depth psychotherapy offers.

Your journey towards emotional and psychological well-being is deeply personal. Whether you opt for counselling or psychotherapy, the ultimate goal is growth, healing, and self-understanding. As you navigate the terrain of mental health support, understanding the nuances between these practices empowers your choices. Both avenues offer paths to healing, with one providing strategies for present challenges and the other delving deep into transformation.

If you're considering starting a therapeutic journey, we invite you to connect with a licensed therapist at our clinic by completing our contact form.


This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider or therapist about your unique situation.


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