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What is psychotherapy? Is it different than therapy or counseling?

Psychotherapy involves treating psychological disorders and mental distress by a trained professional, and is often thought of as “talk therapy”. This can include licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.


Therapy and counseling are used interchangeably. In the field, clinician use them in the same way.


Personally, I say psychotherapy because when asked what I do for a living if I say "therapist" the response is "massage or physical" therapist. Rather than going through these additional questions, saying psychotherapist from the get go cuts straight to the point. In addition, psychotherapy is also thought of doing the long term, deep rooted work where counseling can be thought of as short term, coping skills work. Both can be useful.


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