Difference Between Therapist and Counselor

Therapist vs Counselor

We go to a doctor when we are suffering from a disease or feel unwell. Similarly, we need the treatment of doctors when there is something wrong with our mental wellbeing. There are many different types of practitioners who provide treatment on the basis of our symptoms and emotions. People always confuse between a therapist and a counselor because of similarities in their roles and responsibilities. Therapy and counseling are two of the important treatment procedures for emotional disorders. Therefore, it helps to know the differences between a therapist and a counselor to decide on the professional one requires in times of emotional distress and behavioral problems.


Therapy is a type of treatment procedure that is common in both physical as well as mental disorders. To differentiate with physical therapy, it is called psychotherapy when emotional and behavioral problems are sought to be treated. It is common for doctors to prescribe medications for improvement in symptoms in a mental disorder, but the role of therapy is significant as this talking by the therapist seems to increase the efficacy of the medication. Though it is the therapist who does talking with the patient during psychotherapy, the feelings or the emotions displayed by the patient while talking about his problems give lots of clues to the therapist about the root problems of the patient. Therapy teaches patients novel ways of coping with their feelings as also ways to cope with situations that are troublesome for them. Dealing with one’s own feelings of anger, depression, guilt, anxiety, shyness etc. becomes much easier for the patients after therapy sessions from the therapist.


The word counselor comes from counseling which is similar in meaning to advise. The word is very common and used in many contexts as there are educational counselors, marital counselors, and financial counselors, in addition to mental health counselors. When it comes to mental health, professionals who provide guidance to people to deal with mental conflicts and problems in interpersonal behavior are referred to as counselors. A counselor talks with the patient as a friend to help resolve a mental problem. Counseling remains focused upon behavioral changes required to cope with problematic situations and relationships.

What is the difference between Therapist and Counselor?

• There is quite a bit of overlap in the roles of therapists and counselors as both help patients in overcoming emotional and behavioral problems.

• 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 because of lack of required training.

• Anyone can become a counselor but to become a psychotherapist a lot of training and skills are required.