Drawing Distinctions: Therapy Vs. Counselling Vs. Mediation

Conflict is a part of life; it can happen in all your relationships, whether with friends, family and significant others. But no matter the level of conflict, how we deal with that conflict determines whether or not we are happy and successful. Some forms of conflict can be mild, while others stem from a deeper unresolved issue. There are many different ways to deal with conflict, but three of the most popular are therapy, counselling, and mediation. So, what’s the difference between these three? “What is the Definition of Mediation in Psychology?” Mediation is a process in which two or more people attempt to reach an agreement on a disputed issue. It’s typically facilitated by a third party, such as a mediator, who remains neutral throughout the process and doesn’t take sides.

Mediators are neither counsellors nor therapists. Although they have quasi-comparable skills, they are not qualified or trained to support parties who wish to reconcile by exploring deep-rooted historical problems or issues. If this type of service is required for conflict resolution, mediators will refer the parties to suitable therapists and counsellors for appropriate support. 

Mediation aims to come to a resolution that everyone can agree on. This type of conflict resolution is often used in cases where the parties involved are willing to negotiate and compromise, more often seen in families amid separation. However, family mediation is also helpful for more common issues, although therapists are often hired for more deep-rooted family problems. They can also get family counselling to resolve recurring issues. “So, What Do Mediators Do?” They empower parties in conflict to remain future-focused. The parties are encouraged to shelf issues that don’t help them or their families instead of staying stuck in the past. For couples intending to divorce, mediators will help them make informed decisions about their separation issues. It mainly covers and explores arrangements for their dependents. 

In family mediation, parties may also explore softer topics, such as communication difficulties and boundary setting to help family members reach mutually acceptable agreements or understandings on critical issues.

wooden puzzle blocks with man, woman, and mediation icon

The Benefits of Mediation

Since mediation is a guided negotiation often needed to reach a compromise and settle disputes. It provides plenty of benefits, such as

    • It’s usually faster than going to court since parties can reach an agreement quicker.
    • It’s less expensive compared to settling matters through court.
    • It provides appropriate support for both parties since mediators act as neutral facilitators.
    • It’s confidential, which means that what is said during mediation cannot be used in court.
    • It allows you to have control over the outcome of the dispute.
    • It can help improve communication and relationships.
    • It can help resolve conflicts peacefully.
    • It’s voluntary since any party can withdraw from the mediation anytime.
    • It’s convenient since the mediation is arranged with the convenience of the parties in mind.

If you’re facing a conflict you can solve with compromise, consider mediation to resolve it. Therapy vs Counselling Therapy and counselling are both forms of psychological treatment. However, there are some critical differences between the two.

Counselling is typically shorter-term than therapy and focuses on resolving a specific issue. While it does have greater breadth than mediation, it’s often more present-focused and will address recurring problems in a relationship. Counselling can also include skill development to help mitigate those regular issues. 

Although there may only be a single problem in a relationship, it is generally the case that the same issue keeps causing problems, undermining the parties’ satisfaction with the connection. Counselling can address such issues without delving into one’s personal history.

On the other hand, therapy is typically longer-term and focuses less on what needs to be resolved and more on the reason behind the conflict. It’s often more future-focused and seeks to prevent conflict from happening again. This type of conflict resolution provides the most significant depth and breadth to addressing relationship issues since it delves into the past. 

By understanding the reason behind the conflict, therapists also encourage parties to explore their history and the possible contributions their past has made to their current relationship. In this case, a change of behaviour is usually expected.

therapist consulting with a clientThe Benefits of Therapy

There are many benefits to therapy for individuals, couples and families, including the following: Individual Therapy

    • It can help you improve your communication skills
    • It can empower you to develop fresh perspectives on your life.
    • It can help you learn how to make healthier choices.
    • It can help you develop coping skills for stress management.
    • It can help you understand the root cause of your conflict.
    • It can help you learn new skills to prevent conflict in the future.
    • It can help you improve relationships with others.
    • It’s often longer-term, which means you can explore issues in depth and make lasting changes.

Family Therapy

    • It can help families evaluate and treat mental health concerns (issues related to substance abuse, trauma and depression).
    • It can help families address relationship issues within the family.
    • It helps family members develop collaboration and individual coping skills.
    • It can help families evaluate and treat emotional disorders.
    • It can help family members improve how they communicate with each other.
    • It helps family members identify ways to find healthy support.

Couples Therapy

    • It can help couples communicate better.
    • It can restore lost trust.
    • It can resolve conflicts more effectively.
    • It can increase shared support.
    • It can restore intimacy.
    • It can help couples form a stronger bond.

If you’re facing a conflict with deep-rooted issues, consider therapy as a way to resolve it. You may be surprised at how effective it can be.

Counselling vs Mediation While counselling and mediation are forms of conflict resolution, the two have some key differences.

Mediation is typically directed at resolving a particular dispute by focusing on the futuristic implications of the issue and reaching a compromise that works for everyone. Meanwhile, counselling tends to focus on the present, addressing recurring problems in the relationship by helping the parties develop skills to mitigate issues.

couple holding hands

The Benefits of Counselling

There are many benefits to counselling, including the following:

    • It can help you understand and resolve your conflict.
    • It stimulates a positive disposition.
    • It can help you relieve unpleasant emotions and move on.
    • It enables you to develop openness and acceptance.
    • It can help improve communication and relationships.
    • It paves the way for new perspectives.
    • It can help you learn new skills to prevent conflict in the future.
    • It provides comfort and security.
    • It nurtures mental wellness.

If you’re facing a recurring conflict, consider counselling as a way to resolve it.

What about Coaching? Coaching is often confused with therapy or counselling. However, coaching is different because it focuses on helping people achieve specific goals. It is a highly individualised and personalised well-being intervention that works for individuals and various relationships. Coaches don’t focus on the past or on resolving conflict. Instead, they work with their clients to help them identify and achieve their goals. 

Coaching should empower individuals to find the answers within themselves. In this case, the coachee is the one who should set goals and determine what success looks like instead of the coach.

The Benefits of Coaching

There are many benefits to coaching, including the following:

    • It can help you achieve specific goals.
    • It can help improve communication and relationships.
    • It can improve self-awareness.
    • It helps develop resilience and increase stress tolerance.
    • It allows people to collaborate better.
    • It improves self-efficacy.
    • It helps build and maintain an excellent work-life balance.
    • It nourishes mental health.

If you need guidance in resolving conflict or achieving a specific goal, consider coaching as a way to help you develop actionable strategies. “How Do I Know Which is Right for Me?” So, which one is right for you? It really depends on your specific situation. If you have a particular dispute that you need to resolve, mediation may be a good option. Counselling may be a better option if you’re dealing with recurring conflicts in your relationship. And if you want to understand the root cause of your conflict and learn how to prevent it in the future, therapy may be the best choice.

The best way to determine which of these conflict resolution methods is right for you is to speak with a qualified professional. They will be able to assess your situation and help you find the best way to move forward.

husband and wife in a therapy sessionGet Therapy, Counselling and Mediation from Qualified Professionals at DIPAC Therapy, counselling, mediation and coaching are all great ways to have a fulfilling and happy life. The best part is that they work for individuals, families and all kinds of relationships. So, if you think you need any of these services, contact DIPAC to get in touch with experienced and licensed professionals who provide assistance with compassion. 

We are Australia’s leading provider of online therapy, counselling, mediation and coaching services. Every client has a special circumstance. As such, we provide a wide range of services to meet every unique case. We provide relationship counselling, family counselling and many other services. Contact us to learn more about our online and face-to-face services.