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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

Counseling, Therapy, Wellness...Oh My!

There are many words professionals use to talk about the idea of a "best self"--Wellness, Mental Health, Behavioral Health, Emotional Health...just to name a few. The road to getting to your "best self" also encompasses different words--Therapy, Counseling and all of its specialities including CBT, DBT, EFT, etc. As any therapist will tell you, words matter. So what do they all mean? And what's the difference between them? And why do they matter so much?

How do words about emotions, mental health and wellness impact you?


Wellness has an obvious association with Eastern treatments like Mindfulness, Yoga, Reiki, and Acupuncture. As more research has been done, indicating a positive correlation with these kinds of treatments and symptom reduction--ie. it works!, more therapists have begun to integrate Mindfulness-based practices into their work. It has also more recently been embraced by therapists--including myself--as an intentional move away from the stigmatizing concepts of mental health and illness. First, health and illness are very binary, either/or kinds of ideas. There's nothing in the middle, which isn't reflective of the actual way most humans live. Second, the idea of mental illness moves away from the "the person isn't the problem, the problem is the problem" kind of mentality, as I discussed in my first blog, "Introducing, Your Best Self". Wellness, on the other hand, offers a paradigm that allows people to decide for themselves what wellness means for them, and to consider what they need to feel well. It offers more gray area that can be person-centered, rather than professionally diagnosed.

Counseling and Therapy

In our busy lives, many people recognize the need for a time out. A kind of time-out/time-in space to have a reprieve from the demands of the world and to reflect on where they are on the wellness spectrum. You might recognize that I'm referring to Counseling and Therapy. Both of these words can be used interchangeably, but the word "counseling" can have a connotation of a more concrete interaction. When I provide counseling, it might look alot like this blog--I might offer ideas, information, activities or ask questions about goals or personal values. During these times, we are working in the "here and now", and actively and directly helping you to feel better.

Therapy is more of a mix of art and science. The word "Therapy" embodies a meaningful relationship and deep growth, which can't always be fully measured. Therapy might stay in the "here and now", but may also explore the ways in which our past experiences have shaped who we are, and will earn us the power to truly break free from patterns that may hold us back. "Therapy" is about really getting to know ourselves in an intimate way, so that we may be more intimate, more loving in our relationships. At Creating Space, feel free to use these words interchangeably, as most sessions will include a bit of both. I believe deeply that you can't provide good counseling without a good relationship, and also that most people need a bit of the "here and now" counseling provides even when their goals are more abstract.

Questions to Consider:

1. What do you need to feel well? Including, what kind of language helps, and what hurts?

2. What kinds of experiences leave you feeling unwell? How can you protect yourself from them?

3. What kinds of people support your wellness? How can you surround yourself with more people like them?

4. What resources are in your area that can help nurture your wellness? (I hope Creating Space Counseling and Wellness will be your first answer! I can also recommend Stillwaters Holistic Health in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, offering services like acupuncture and massage therapy.)


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