We have seen after reading the relevant pages on this site how effective psychotherapy and hypnotherapy can be in addressing the specific problems that the client is experiencing, and how these dilemmas may originate from past events. Using psychotherapeutic techniques and/or hypnosis, the client will, with the therapist’s help and guidance, better understand and be equipped to overcome the predicament that s/he is facing. Some people realise that they need help, but have no interest in the underlying causes that may have contributed to their current problems. They are only concerned with the “here and now” and have no particular desire to spend time investigating issues that they see as being irrelevant to their immediate situation. They need someone to talk to, a person who will be supportive and will understand and empathise with what they are going through.
This focus on the present can be seen as one of the two principal differences between psychotherapy and counselling. The other fundamental difference is that the counsellor will offer very little actual advice which may, at first, seem rather strange. The reason for this, however, is quite straight-forward as the whole point of counselling is to help people develop insights into their own problems or situations and for them, with the encouragement of the counsellor, to draw from their internal resources (resources which they may not have realised that they possessed) and handle their negative situation in an effective way. An example of this could be someone who is being harassed or bullied in the workplace being taught to act more assertively, or the person who has suffered from an unprovoked violent assault from a complete stranger and is now terrified of leaving the house being made to understand the unlikelihood of the event ever occuring again.
Counselling has helped many people cope with and eventually overcome problems with difficult relationships, conflicts in their home and working life, feelings of being overwhelmed in particular situations and many other areas though it is particularly successful in addressing a sudden (at times catastrophic) event that was completely unforeseen. Victims of violence, people who have experienced the sudden death of a close family member, or have been caught up in an unexpected event such as a car accident or even something as extreme as a terrorist attack have hugely benefited from counselling and it is a practise that is being increasingly adopted by institutions as diverse as the NHS, the police, the clergy and trade unions.
Like a psychotherapist (and despite the differences as outlined above, some practitioners still consider psychotherapy and counselling as one and the same) the counsellor will offer a safe, non-judgemental and understanding environment. S/he will act like a close friend, though one who has no pre-conceptions or opinions of the client and who is neither affected nor influenced by any existing or previous relationships.