Counselor Vs. Councilor: There Is A Difference

By Sarah Fader

Updated August 16, 2019

Reviewer Deanna Daniels, LMFT

Learn more about working with a counselor.

There are many words in the English language that sound the same, but carry two entirely different meanings. These words are called homonyms. For example, the words 'there' and 'their' sound alike to the human ear; however, they mean two different things. Though they sound the same, one is an adverb, while the other is a pronoun. Homonym may sound the same in speech, but it is important to use the correct version in writing to make grammatical sense. When searching for information on the Internet, it is important to spell the words correctly or you either may not find the information needed, or obtain information that is irrelevant to your search needs.

Neither 'Their' nor 'There'

Two words that are often confused are councilor and counselor. This is important when looking for someone to provide advice or to counsel. The word councilor is a noun defined as one who serves in a public position, or on a council.


There are many types of counselors one might need in life. Legal counsel is for when there is a civil or criminal issue for which you might require legal advice, and then there is the counselor that you might seek for psychological or any other problems related to your life and mental well-being.

Counselor, Councilor, Counsellor, Councillor

The words councillor, councilor, counsellor, and counselor sound completely the same, but they mean totally different things. Councillor is merely a variation of the word "councilor." It's an alternative spelling of the word "councilor," and the word refers to a member of a council, such as a city council. A counselor, on the other hand, is someone who gives advice or therapy. A counselor can also be an attorney, a trial lawyer, or somebody who supervises young children, but it most commonly refers to somebody who provides behavioral health services in the form of talk therapy. It can also refer to a guidance counselor, frequently seen in school settings.

Counsellor vs. Counselor

The English language has many homonyms. As stated above, a homonym is a word that sounds the same but means something different. It can be hard to figure out what the meaning of a particular word is. The example above of the words "councilor" and "counselor" show just how different a word that sounds the same can be.




A councilor is an individual who is a member of a council. They're elected, and they play an important role in casting the local laws. That's what a councilor is. More commonly used is the word "counselor," which most often refers to somebody that you'd see in a therapy setting, is somebody who gives advice or counsels. A counselor either advises people in one way or another, or they provide therapy. Regardless, they have clients that they see.

Counselors or Attorneys

You may have heard the term "counsel" used about lawyers or attorneys. There are times when an attorney can provide advice or counsel to their clients. An individual could see a lawyer to ask for help on a legal problem. That's when the attorney can advise them on their issue. They're not the only professionals who can provide counsel. An attorney can give counsel, or a therapist can give counsel, so it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. An attorney might offer advice, and a counselor may provide therapy. However, a counselor who is a therapist doesn't necessarily provide advice; instead, they help people with their problems.

The Origin of the Word

We can learn a lot from looking into where a word comes from to understand how it's used today. Let's examine the word counselor. Where does the word counselor originate from and how do we use it now? It comes from England. The word counselor, like the traditional spelling, came from middle English, and it refers to an advisor, but it has evolved since then. We understand counselors to be therapists or advisors. Many therapists are known as counselors. However, we also know that councilors are in the legal or political fields.

Counselor vs. Therapist


You might think that a counselor and a therapist are the same, but there are differences between the individuals. What are the differences between these two mental health professionals? It all depends on what services they're providing.


You've heard of a counselor who sees couples for therapy or a guidance counselor who works in schools. These mental health professionals are versatile, and you can find them in a variety of locations. A counselor is a clinician that has a degree to perform counseling services. They require advanced training, such as graduate school, and they don't necessarily have a background in clinical research.

Therapists vs. Counselors

You may be wondering what the difference is between a therapist and a counselor. Both provide mental health treatment. You might be going to counseling for symptoms of depression or anxiety. You may be seeing a therapist for those issues as well. What's the difference between the two mental health providers. Here are some defining factors to help you understand what a therapist does and what services a counselor provides to their clients. A "counselor" can be more of an informal term for a therapist sometimes.

What's a Therapist?


● A therapist is somebody that tend to hold a Master's degrees or have an education level above a Master's degree.

● They are not legally protected.

● A psychologist is someone who has a higher level degree.

● They can diagnose people.

When to See a Counselor

Everyone needs guidance from time to time. That's when you could consider seeing a counselor. Whether it's to work on your marriage in couple's counseling, going to see a grief counselor work through the death of a loved one or seeing an individual counselor for your mental health, counseling can help us get through difficult times. You'd see a counselor if you needed therapy services and wanted to get treatment for your mental health. You can see an online therapist, or you can visit a counselor in your local area. You might consider going to online counseling if you're someone who wants the convenience and ease of working with a counselor in the privacy of their home.

Different Types of Counselors

When seeking a counselor for a mental health-related issue, consider the various types available when conducting your search and be sure to choose a licensed counselor. There are many types of people who claim to be able to help us out there who do not have the credentials to do so. For example, there are life coaches who could be excellent at their jobs and others who could actually cause people emotional damage. Selecting a licensed counselor is the most informed choice to make for your mental health.

Different specialties of mental health counselors include the following:


  • Marriage and relationship counselors- work with married couples or couples who live together and are in conflict.
  • Family counselors - work with the family as a whole unit. While they may see family members individually for more information, their primary focus is on the family as a whole.
  • Addiction counselors - work with individuals who are addicted to substances or activities such as gambling or gaming.
  • Grief Counselors - work with those who have suffered a loss of a loved one to death.
  • Sex Counselors/therapists - work with couples or individuals experiencing issues of sexual nature or with sexual intimacy.
  • Mental health counselors- work with individuals who have been diagnosed with depression and other mental health disorders that can be managed through a range of therapies.

These are just a few of the umbrellas under which you can find a mental health counselor specific to your needs. It's essential to research the type of counselor with the education and experience suited to provide the best help and guidance for your particular situation. For example, if you broke your wrist, you probably wouldn't consult a podiatrist (foot specialist) for treatment even though they may understand broken bones Similarly, it is wise to select a counselor that has experience treating the issue you are seeking help to address.


At, there is an entire network of licensed counselors with expertise in various areas of mental health and counseling. They are here to provide you with supportive counseling and the tools to help yourself.

Click here to be matched with a qualified counselor specific to your needs. If you're still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at or check us out online at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Tumblr.

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