Counseling vs Depth Psychotherapy

While the distinction between Counseling and Depth Psychotherapy is not a sharp one, it can be helpful to have some understanding of the difference.

Many people seek help because of psychological symptoms and painful life circumstances. Others are motivated not because their life is problematic, but because they feel like something is missing or they want more in their life. My approach will depend on what brings you to seek help.

Counseling is effective for addressing specific symptoms, such as anxiety or excessive worry, and for dealing with difficult life circumstances. It might be sought when coping with changes in marital status, career, parenthood, loss of a loved one or when making an important life decision. You and I set goals at the beginning of therapy to help guide the process.

Depth Psychotherapy, or Jungian-oriented psychotherapy is a process of inner exploration addressing the psychological structures we have developed in our life so that we come to live from a more authentic sense of ourselves. The late Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung, found that it was common for people to achieve a respectable level of success in their lives, only then to discover an inner longing for a deeper sense of purpose or meaning. This can be experienced as an unsettling time of uncertainties about identity, accomplishments, values and beliefs. Through a process of following ones inner images, thoughts and feelings, as well as investigating oneself in relationship to the therapist, this type of therapy opens us up to unexplored and forgotten facets of ourselves. In bringing these hidden aspects into consciousness, they can be examined and integrated into our identity, and into a more mature set of values. This process is supported within the therapeutic relationship, through talking, dream work, and/or other creative arts. As you might imagine, such a journey can be challenging at times, but it also offers the potential of living a more full and authentic life.

Felicia Matto-Shepard