How To Choose The Best Counseling Or Therapy Option For Your Mental Health Needs

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There are so many reasons that people seek out behavioral health specialists for themselves or their loved ones. But which is the right option – counseling or therapy? Sometimes, they are looking for help related to a specific area of their lives, such as career, relationships or physical health. Other times, people look for help to navigate anxiety, depression, or substance abuse; or they may not even be able to identify the specific reason they seek counseling services or therapy. They may just feel off and not like themselves. Just as there are many reasons that a person may look for help, there are also many types of mental health professionals who work with individuals in various ways. Counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists all have different qualifications, education, experiences, and treatment methods. The first important step is choosing the right type of counseling or therapy that best matches your needs.

What is the difference between counseling and therapy?

Broadly speaking, the main difference between counseling and therapy is that counseling deals more directly with a specific problem. In contrast, therapy takes a more holistic approach to an individual’s overall mental health. For example, counseling services can help individuals who want to work on a specific goal, such as changing careers, losing weight, or recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. Broader mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, maybe more appropriately treated in individual therapy sessions with a licensed professional. Another significant difference between counseling and therapy is the qualifications and education of the individual providing the health care. Here is a side by-side-comparison of some of the ways the training and education of counselors and therapists differ:


  • A counselor can be a licensed clinician with advanced degrees or someone who offers other forms of support.
  • Counselors do not require the same degree of advanced training or licensure to operate as therapists or psychiatrists.
  • Counselors have less in-depth understanding provided by clinical research found in therapy and psychology.


  • A therapist is a protected title in some states and can refer to psychologists, licensed social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists.
  • Therapists have earned advanced degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate in psychology, family therapy, social work, or counseling. Therapists use a behavioral approach.
  • Therapists are trained to use clinical data and research to best support their clients.
  • Therapists can hold multiple degrees and licenses that allow them to specialize in different types of modalities and treatments.

When should I seek out counseling services near me?

Depending on what type of support and help you are seeking, counseling or therapy may be most appropriate for you. For a specific problem with a clear goal, such as “I want to lose 30 pounds” or “I want to get a better job,” counseling services might be the perfect fit. Therapy is often better at addressing less goal-oriented concerns, such as “I feel anxious” or “I can’t sleep.” At Memor Health, we believe in looking at an individual’s mental health concerns in a more holistic way. That is why we often combine psychotherapy, medication management, mindful breathing, and other modalities of therapy to address the mind-body connection. For example, sometimes, an individual will come to us seeking help for insomnia. Initially, they may want a pill or other medical intervention to get a good night’s sleep. However, our mental health professionals are trained to look at the whole picture. They can help this individual identify the source of their sleeplessness and ways to address that deeper issue and find balance again.

How can counseling and therapy help me?

Both counseling and therapy can help individuals live better lives and reach their full potential. Because each has its benefits, it is important to understand the differences and choose the right fit for you and which will make you feel comfortable. The Memor Health team holds a variety of certifications and licenses in therapy, counseling, and more. Learn more about our mental health professionals. If you are ready to bring your life back into balance with the help of our experienced team in Reno, Nevada, contact us today!

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