Definitions and distinctions
Counselling and psychotherapy are always undertaken at the request of the client and no-one can properly be ’sent’ for counselling or psychotherapy.
There are many situations these days where people with influence in our lives (perhaps a relative, manager at work, or teacher) will suggest talking therapies as a solution to a problem. This should be offered without any pressure or strings attached.
Therapy is time set aside by you and the therapist to look at what has brought you to therapy. This might include talking about life events, (past and present), feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour.
The therapist will do their best to help you to look at your issues, and to identify the right course of action for you, either to help you resolve your difficulties or help you find ways of coping.
Counselling and psychotherapy will help you make decisions but a practitioner will not tell you what to do. If that is what you want, you need to look for some other type of help, such as information and advice agencies, telephone helplines, support or self-help groups.
(Taken from the BACP website: http://www.bacp.co.uk)