ABH Maryland

This is the Remarkable Difference Between Counseling and Therapy


This is the Remarkable Difference Between Counseling and Therapy

  • Mental Health

Many people use these terms interchangeably, but are counseling and therapy the same? Whether you are considering therapy for the first time or have considerable experience receiving mental health treatment, you may be unsure about the different services mental health professionals offer.

Let’s better understand the differences between counseling and therapy and look at some of the most common therapy options available today.

What are the Differences Between Counseling and Therapy?

Counseling and therapy are similar mental health practices licensed professionals offer to alleviate troubling thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Combined with changes in behavior, they can drastically improve the quality of an individual’s life.

Though there are substantial differences between counseling and therapy, these two practices have no firm boundaries and often overlap.


Generally speaking, counseling helps people facing particular life challenges. These life challenges can vary, and many circumstances can cause a significant enough disruption in a person’s mental well-being to lead to counseling. 

Counseling services tend to be short-term, and some examples patients often see counselors for when faced with circumstances include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Relationship difficulties, including divorce
  • Professional or legal worries
  • Grief over the loss of a loved one


This umbrella term encompasses various recuperative practices. 

For our purposes, we will be concerned with psychotherapy, a mental health practice offered by licensed professionals trained to use psychotherapeutic techniques to treat mental illness. These professionals may be counselors, psychologists, or clinical social workers. 

Therapy addresses more serious underlying issues and may require longer-term care with more frequent visits than those visiting a counselor. 

Therapy may also treat mental health symptoms that have no physical explanation. Some individuals experience chronic despair, hopelessness, or self-hatred that they cannot explain and which, to them, has no clear precursor.

Additionally, general health care providers may suggest therapy to patients they suspect are suffering from undiagnosed mental health concerns. 

People enter into therapy for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Commonly, complex life challenges that motivate people to seek counseling go on to reveal underlying emotional disorders that require further therapy. This facet is one of the many ways counseling and therapy overlap.

Different Types of Therapy

There are dozens of types of psychotherapy, and qualified and experienced professionals specialize in one or more methods and will recommend a particular type based on your specific needs and symptoms. 

Below are some of the most popular approaches to therapy, but there are many more options currently available to treat people in diverse, innovative ways:

  • Psychodynamic Therapy is a common approach to therapy today that has its foundations in the work of Sigmund Freud. In psychodynamic therapy, the patient and therapist build a close alliance and examine unconscious thoughts and beliefs that may lead to unhealthy behaviors. Through practices such as dream interpretation or hypnotism, clients build up their self-esteem and develop tools to handle difficult situations.  
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), another standard therapy approach, focuses on a person’s thoughts and behaviors that cause self-destructive or harmful actions. In CBT, the therapist will help the patient identify the cognitive factors that lead to emotional disorders and replace them with new adaptive learning experiences.
  • Interpersonal Therapy centers on a person’s relationships with others. Therapists work closely with clients to build their agency and help them adapt to stressful environmental stimuli.
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a short-term, evidence-based therapy approach for children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events. It addresses trauma-related symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors through cognitive and behavioral interventions, in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Play Therapy is a form of therapeutic intervention that uses play as a means of communication and expression for children. It allows children to process and cope with emotional, behavioral, and social challenges through play activities facilitated by a trained therapist, promoting healing and growth.

Contact Us

At Advanced Behavioral Health, we are proud to be at the forefront of compassionate and effective therapeutic care.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a life crisis or persistent troubling emotions, please reach out to our team of qualified mental health specialists. 

You can call us at 301-345-1022 or send us a message online here. One of our team members will stand by to help you find the confidential consultation you need.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.