What is the difference between counseling and therapy?  What about coaching?

Although the terms counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling.  

 

Counseling is usually more short-term than therapy.  Psychotherapy is more long term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues.

 

Put simply, coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the 'here and now' rather than on the distant past or future.  To coach is to help the individual to improve their own performance: in other words, helping them to learn.  

All sessions are private and confidential.  Confidentiality is a respected part of a counselor's code of ethics.  Counselors understand that for people to feel comfortable talking about private and sensitive information, they need a safe space.  People need to talk about what they'd like, without fear of that information leaving the room.  Your privacy is taken very seriously.

Laws are also in place to protect your privacy.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)  contains a privacy rule that creates national standards to protect an individual records and personal health information, including information about psychotherapy and mental health.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is designed to be a minimum level of protection.  At your first visit, a counselor should give you written information explaining privacy policies and how your personal information will be handled.  This information will explain that in some cases, there are exceptions to the privacy rule, such as duty to warm situations.

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