What is counselling and psychotherapy?

What is counselling?

So many people (myself included) are confused about the the difference between counselling and psychotherapy. 

Whilst there are various schools of thought, my interpretation is this:

The length and type of training, and the approach to the intervention provided, can be characterised as the main defining features of counselling and psychotherapy.  Counselling tends to offer focused based intervention, with the intent to help the client move forward. It is usually behaviour-driven and often shorter in duration.  Psychotherapy approaches matters in a similar way to counselling,  but  allows for the therapist to work longer with client, offering the opportunity to work in more depth on deep rooted issues. The terms are regarded by some practitioners as interchangeable, as the same skill set is often drawn upon.

Fundamentally,  good therapy relies on the relationship between the client and  therapist.  Feeling understood, not judged, safe and able to trust are crucial to the alliance and should be considered when making a choice.   In addition, all well-trained practitioners should belong to a professional body like the BACP (British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists), UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) or the BABCP (The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies).  For peace of mind, it is recommended that you check  your practitioner's qualifications and professional registration.