In the psychological counseling session you may receive examination, analysis, clarification and assessment of a problematic situation. Also receive some recommendations regarding possible ways of solving the problem. Counseling often involves psycho-education.
The method of psychotherapy is to create a client-therapeutic relationship, an environment in which a client could solve their psychological problems. The counseling approach is somewhat different. Counseling is more short-term in comparison with therapy.
Therapy takes more time because the nature of psychological functioning in many people is such that it needs time to lower psychological defenses, so that a client and a therapist get access to psychological material that needs to be worked through.
In counseling, we do not spend time to overcome the resistance of defenses, but work with what we have at the moment. It is possible because not all clients have maladaptive subconscious defenses. It means that we can reach important psychological material without spending much time and effort. Also, not all people need major or deep changes in their personality structure.
In my view, counseling requires from a specialist as much competence and experience as psychotherapy does. Because we’re supposed to recognize, understand, sort out the situation and receive some results within a considerably shorter time frame.
Counseling format works for people, who do not need to dive into personality-oriented psychotherapy aimed at transformation and processing of major conflicts, subconscious complexes and trauma.