Islam teaches us to be active in helping ourselves and others in the best way possible, taking proper care of one’s health is considered to be the right of the body.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no disease that Allah has sent down except that He also has sent down its treatment.”

[The Book of Medicine: Sahih Bukhari]

Therefore we should believe that things will get better, not give up, and keep trying to improve and heal bi’ithnillah (with the permission of Allah) despite how hard it is.

In a mental health context, in this day and age there are many types of solutions to problems and it can get quite overwhelming. We hear the words “counselling” and “therapy” thrown about often but what do they even mean?

The terms “counselling” and “therapy” have different meanings, but are often used to describe the same activity. Both counselling and therapy involve talking with a trained professional and provide people with a way of dealing with change psychologically. Counselling is the process by which a counsellor helps an individual understand and solve problems to help him or her cope with mental or emotional stressors. On the other hand, therapy usually involves talking about your situation in order to gain more understanding about issues such as mood, feelings, behaviour, and ways of thinking.

The key difference between the two courses of treatment lies in the recommended time required to see benefits. Counselling usually refers to a brief treatment that centres on behaviour patterns. Psychotherapy focuses on working with clients for a longer-term and draws from insight into emotional problems and difficulties.

To the public the title counsellor appears less intrusive and more easily acceptable than the name psychotherapist suggests. A psychotherapist may therefore call him/herself a counsellor, in order to attract potential clients.

Key Differences

Counselling:

  • Helps people identify problems and crises and encourages them to take positive steps to resolve these issues.
  • It is the best course of therapeutic treatment for anyone who already has an understanding of wellbeing, and who is also able to resolve problems.
  • Counselling is a short-term process that encourages the change of behaviour.

Psychotherapy:

  • Helps people with psychological problems that have built up over the course of a long period of time.
  • It will help you understand your feelings, thoughts and actions more clearly.
  • Psychotherapy is a longer-term process of treatment that identifies emotional issues and the background to problems and difficulties.

In 2014 the BACP carried out some research to find out more about people’s attitudes towards counselling and psychotherapy. Some of the key findings included:

28% of people have consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist (up from 21% in 2010)

54% of respondents said that they, a family member, friend or work colleague have consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist

69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more

Read more about the key findings of the BACP research (PDF, 134kb).

Entering into any form of treatment requires a firm commitment on the part of the individual in distress, and open communication. In order to get the most out of it, it is best to ensure the correct treatment is considered. Is one better than the other – are there different types? What are Islamic solutions?

Inspirited Minds are going to share different types of ‘solutions’ next week so keep reading, and in the meantime listen in to our most recent podcast with Inspirited Minds counsellor, Aaliyah Shaikh!

Hamida Moulvi

Author Hamida Moulvi

Hamida has a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree, having studied modules concerning Emotions and Mental Health. She is passionate about giving back to the community as it is important to benefit others - every little helps, in inspiring changes and raising awareness, especially within Muslim communities where many cultures can believe mental health isn't a real problem. She has a love for the way Islam guides, inspires and heals (HasbunAllahu w ni'mal wakeel) and is also interested in languages, being multilingual. She believes words have a powerful impact whether that be in written or spoken form, and that we are all here to learn, implement and share so helping write articles would achieve this also.

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