Every human being has certain developmental tasks that they have to learn in a certain order. Accomplishing these tasks enables a child to grow into an adult who is able to trust, develop relationships, bond, endure separation and take risks. Being successful at tasks builds self-esteem, autonomy, independence, and allows for appropriate risk taking behaviour and self-confidence.
Poor parenting, abuse, violence or substance abuse, are some of the life occurrences that derail the healthy development of these skills and lead to future problems. The younger the child when things went awry, the more deeply embedded the problem. Psychotherapy looks into the past to find the gaps and repair them. The younger the child when the problem occurred and the longer the problem has existed, the longer the repair process will take. This longer process is psychotherapy.
Some problems that arise are situational. They are directly related to events that have just occurred, such as divorce, a death or a job loss. These issues can be addressed without extensively exploring childhood details. This quicker process is counselling.