Charles B. Strozier, PhD

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Counselor or Therapist? Here’s How to Decide


Everyone who’s ever had a hard time dealing with stress or mental illness has been told to see a therapist or a counselor. While most friends and family members mean well when they make this suggestion, they often use the two terms synonymously. A counselor however is a very different from a therapist. This blog aims to explain those differences.

A Counselor

Counselor is basically an umbrella term used for clinical practitioners with a license and for unlicensed people offering counseling. The career counselor a school hires for students is as much a counselor as is the designated counselor who students are sent to if problems arise. In a nutshell, here’s what counselors do:

- They consult with the patient and work out a schedule or timeline for counseling sessions. They often discuss their goals beforehand.

- They can operate without any higher education degree or advanced training.

- They can work in various fields and consult on issues of all kinds. A student who can’t get his homework done on time can be counseled just as a depressed student will be.

- With unlicensed counselors, there’s no detailed understanding of psychology involved in counseling nor is any clinical research part of the training.

- There are Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) who complete their master’s in counseling and related fields from a university who are better equipped for therapy.

A Therapist

Usually a therapist is said to be someone who is trained to sit with and talk in depth about psychological issues with a patient.  Both counselors and therapists must establish rapport with a patient. But therapists are highly trained as family therapists, group therapists, marital therapists, social workers, etc.

- Therapists employ behavioral approaches as standard procedure. Their work is based as much on research and academic findings as it is based on rapport.

- There are many degrees which when acquired allow you to operate as a therapist, such as a Masters in Psychology, in Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as higher doctoral degrees in relevant fields.

Which Should You See?

The decision of which provider you need to go to depends on the severity and nature of your problem. If you’re faced with a minor complication and you can’t come to a decision about something, a counselor would work. They’ll offer you an ear and listen to you. For some people it’s essential to talk to another person, especially for introverts or anti-social people who don’t usually have many friends.

However if you feel as if a heavy burden lies on your chest, as if you can’t deal with the ups and downs of life, then you’d best see a therapist.  If you are feeling depressed, acting out, losing sleep, losing appetite, losing interest in all the things that used to fascinate you, a therapist can help.

Since therapists come with professional degrees in psychology they’re better equipped to help you and understand what’s troubling you. Unlike a counselor, a therapist won’t just listen to you. They’ll get to the root of the problem and find a solution for you. Thus they’ll offer both: counseling and therapy, which works in most cases and is a long-term solution.

Looking for a Confidential Therapist in NYC?

Dr. Charles B Strozier is a reputable and highly commendable psychoanalyst who practices in New York City. From individual counseling to full-fledged therapies, group therapies to marital counseling, Dr. Chuck Strozier covers most therapy and counseling needs. He is also an academic stalwart, with Pulitzer Prize nominations and more to his name. Dr. Strozier can be reached at (646) 493-9451.