Reviewed by Matthew Hoffman on December 07, 2009

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Patricia A. Farrell, PhD Clinical Psychologist

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Video Transcript

Narrator: What is the difference between therapy and counseling?

Patricia Farrell, PhD: I think it's an important distinction between therapy and counseling and this is a distinction that really comes out of psychology. We have clinical psychologists who are trained to diagnose, psychopathology, major mental illness, and then we have people out of counseling psychology who really want to deal with the problems of everyday life, so we have two different orientations.

Patricia Farrell, PhD: And I think they are both fine and acceptable, but I think probably most people will go and will accept counseling more because of what it seems to portend. The word therapy means I'm ill, maybe not ill, you need some help. That's okay.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.): If you go to a counselor, it's I have some problems and I want some help. And that's what counselors do, whether they are psychologists or social workers or nurses or whatever are looking to help you handle the problems in your life. New ways of coping, that maybe you haven't thought about before. They will give you homework assignments so that you can go home and try it out.