The difference between “therapy” and “counseling” can be a point of confusion for clients seeking mental health treatment. Much of the confusion arises because licensed practitioners, clients, and the general public frequently use the words “therapy” and “counseling” interchangeably. They also use “therapist” and “counselor” the same way. But there is a key distinction to be aware of. In a mental health sense, “therapy” and “counseling” are largely synonymous. But in a professional sense, they are not.
Therapy is considered a type of mental health practice when specifically done by a professional counselor, clinical social worker or psychologist. However, therapy is not a profession; it is not possible to have a career as a therapist from a mental health perspective.
Counseling is a mental health profession. Someone who aspires to provide therapeutic treatments and counseling services can pursue a career in counseling.