CBT therapy vs counselling: which is best?

Managing mental health issues can be challenging, but seeking help is an important and proactive step. However, it can feel overwhelming when considering treatment options. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 adults experience a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety within a one-week period, meaning more people than ever need mental health support, and thankfully, with more awareness comes better and more diverse treatment options. However, many wonder what treatment is best: CBT therapy or counselling.There’s no doubt that both avenues offer paths to healing, but which one best suits you and your situation? Onebright explores the different therapies and the benefits each one offers.

Understanding CBT Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective mental health treatment renowned for its evidence-based approach and tangible results. 

The therapy is rooted in the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. Through CBT, Therapists aim to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to overwhelming emotions. 

Through a collaborative process between therapist and client, CBT helps individuals use practical tools and strategies to help reframe their thinking and manage their emotions. As a result, many people can create positive long-term change. What can CBT help with? 

CBT therapy can treat a myriad of mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Stress management 
  • Insomnia 
  • Eating disorders 


These issues can undoubtedly affect everyday life and interfere with enjoying things.  CBT offers hope and comfort for those who need it by providing practical solutions they can incorporate into their lives. 

Benefits of Counseling

In contrast to the more structured approach of CBT therapy, counselling offers a more fluid and exploratory space for individuals to discuss their feelings and emotions. 

Therapists take an empathetic approach and engage in active listening. Counselling provides a therapeutic relationship built on trust and understanding, which helps individuals express themselves freely without worrying about being misunderstood or judged. 

Counselling encompasses a diverse array of techniques, but the main focus is on providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings and cultivate self-awareness. The scope of counselling is broad. Some issues it can help with are: 

  • Grief 
  • Relationships
  • Life Transitions and Adjustments
  • Self-Exploration and Personal Growth
  • Stress management 


The exploration of emotions and the opportunity to open up and talk help people express their feelings and work through their issues in a safe and compassionate environment. 

Choosing the Right Path

Deciding which therapy to choose depends on what you want from therapy or counselling. To help the process, ask yourself: What support do I need? What are my specific concerns or challenges? Am I interested in exploring the root causes of my issues? Am I open to trying different therapeutic approaches?

Once you answer these questions, you may gravitate towards structured interventions, tangible goals, and practical strategies for change, in which case  CBT therapy may work best for you. On the other hand, if you seek a more exploratory and reflective space to process your emotions and experiences, counselling may resonate more deeply with you.

Ultimately, the choice between CBT therapy and counselling is a deeply personal one, guided by your circumstances and what you decide you want to gain from treatment.  Regardless of your path, remember that seeking help is a courageous step towards healing, and there is hope.

Onebright offers a range of therapeutic services. Whether you embark on the structured path of CBT therapy or the exploratory journey of counselling, know that you are not alone. Contact the onebright team today by filling out the form below. 

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