A person seeks therapy when he/she is unable to solve his /her emotional difficulties. These emotional difficulties interfere in his problem solving capacity and do not allow the person to use his intelligence and the experience of his past to deal/cope with day-to-day events.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (of which I am an accredited practitioner) is a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It is more depth centered than CBT in that it believes that humans largely create their own disturbance by having faulty philosophies and attitudes of living. CBT focuses on misinterpretations of situations that a client may make and this they believe is the cause of their disturbance. While REBT holds that the main cause of emotional distress is not due to our interpretations but due to our questionable beliefs and evaluations about the circumstances in our life. REBT believes that humans learn and can therefore unlearn some silly, questionable ideas about health, happiness, success, etc. These questionable ideas when reconstructed lead to happier, healthier living and make us less disturbable. REBT believes that with the correction of faulty philosophies a person will get an added bonus in other spheres of life as well. The work is not limited to specific problem solving but to a retraining of philosophies for life!

A Psychiatrist believes that the cause of emotional disturbance is due to chemical imbalances in the human body. Hormonal changes, thyroid malfunctions, erratic brain functions, etc. Their job is correction of those chemical imbalances by medication and/or ECT’s. They are most oftenNOT trained in psychotherapy even though many may write Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. It is important to understand if your emotional disturbance is a result of chemical imbalance or are you largely distressed because of certain faulty ideas and philosophies you are nurturing? Please check the credentials of the Psychiatrist particularly if you seek him/her out for Psychotherapeutic help.

Psychotherapists are people who believe that largely people disturb themselves due to their faulty, defective, thinking. They are NOT medically trained and hence are not legally permitted to prescribe medication. Their understanding of disturbance is that there is no chemical cause of disturbance (something that a Psychiatrist would treat). Their treatment is simply in the reconstruction of a person’s outlook, attitude, philosophy, which they believe is the culprit in the persons distress. Psychiatrists hold MD (Doctor of Medicine, Psychiatry) degrees. Psychotherapists hold MA, plus an affiliation of a particular school. (Eg. Master of Arts in Psychology, Associate Fellow & Supervisor, The Albert Ellis Institute, New York City, U.S.A.)

Most Clinical Psychologists in India are not trained in Psychotherapy. They usually are trained in the administration of Psychometric Tests (Conducting IQ, Ink Blot, Diagnostic Tests). It is important that you ask the Psychotherapist which School of Psychotherapy he practices (There are 360+ schools of psychotherapy today) and where and how he has acquired those qualifications.

There is no difference between a counselor and a therapist. The terms are synonymous. However, there are several self-styled counselors who have done 1 year or 2 years short-term courses. Be vigilant and aware that the person you seek help from is professionally qualified. There are a dime a dozen quacks floating around and they may do more damage than good.

Eating disorders are characterized by disturbances in eating behavior.  This can mean eating too much, not eating enough, or eating in an extremely unhealthy manner (such as binging or stuffing yourself over and over).  Many people argue that simple overeating should be considered a disorder, but at this time it is not in this category.

The types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Compulsive Overeating

While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food.

Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. Scientists and researchers are still learning about the underlying causes of these emotionally and physically damaging conditions. We do know, however, about some of the general issues that can contribute to the development of eating disorders.

People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.


Paraphilias all have in common distressing and repetitive sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors.  These fantasies, urges, or behaviors must occur for a significant period of time and must interfere with either satisfactory sexual relations or everyday functioning if the diagnosis is to be made.  There is also a sense of distress within these individuals.  In other words, they typically recognize the symptoms as negatively impacting their life but feel as if they are unable to control them.
The two disorders in this category refer to either the abuse or dependence on a substance. A substance can be anything that is ingested in order to produce a high, alter one's senses, or otherwise affect functioning. The most common substance thought of in this category is alcohol although other drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, special-K, and crack, are also included. Probably the most abused substances, caffeine and nicotine, are also included although rarely thought of in this manner by the layman. 
When you are unable to solve your day-to-day difficulties for a significantly long period of time and find yourself blocked in reaching your goals, you may consider professional help. If you find yourself experiencing emotions that are self-destructive or are unable to get along with significant people in your life for too long, again, you may consider professional help.

There is no difference. The terms are synonymous.


That depends on the kind of problem. If the therapist believes that there is also some chemical cause to the emotional distress he/she may refer you to a psychiatrist so that both medication and therapy conjointly work together for alleviating the distress. Some problems may need therapy alone. Some problems may need more medication than therapy.
That is an individual matter. It is similar to learning a language or driving. Some take a few weeks to pick up a new language or to drive a car. Some take longer. It purely depends on how long you will take to learn and apply what is being taught in therapy.
Some are. Most are not. Look and ask for the Psychiatrists qualification in therapy and ask which school of therapy he/she practices and whether he/she has any accredition of it.
It may be difficult as a layperson to judge that.  A good professional (with no ulterior motive) will guide you to the required person (therapist or psychiatrist) depending on his judgment of the problem. Seek out a qualified person and ask them what is best for you.
Not necessarily. If a person is qualified in a system of therapy he/she will mostly be able to address any difficulty – child or adult. Though some professionals prefer specializing in specific age groups there are no hard and fast rules to only seek them out. And usually we find that problem children have problem parents or that there is a dysfunctional pattern of parenting that could be causing the child’s difficulties.
Again a professionally qualified person would at least have a basic theory to treat and correct different issues of emotional distress. Of course there are some who specialize only in a particular facet – say learning disabilities – in that case it is better to seek that person out since his/her sole focus would be in that area.
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