What is the difference between therapy and counseling? This is a good question and it’s usually left unanswered.
Nowadays, there are no practical differences. ‘Counseling’, ‘therapy’, and ‘psychotherapy’ are title words that grew from different traditions in the helping field. However, professionalization and standardization of practices in the last fifty years have erased their real difference. Current differences are more a matter of tradition and regional culture than of actual practice.
Historically, «therapists» and «psychotherapists» treated mental health problems, while «counselors» focused on career and personal development. Today, the field of mental health has grown enough, and has accumulated enough scientific evidence, to establish that people benefit from a combination of both healing and personal development.
As long as the helper is licensed, whether as counselor or therapist, e.g. psychologist, mental health counselor, social worker, or family therapist, he/she will use unified shared principles, scientific knowledge, theories, techniques, and clinical methods accepted as standard.