A mental health counselor is someone who works in collaboration with groups and individuals to improve mental and emotional health. Mental health counseling involves the identification, evaluation, and treatment of mental health disorders, including but not limited to, mental disorders resulting from stress, family dysfunction, or unemployment. These health counselors also coordinate therapy sessions with individuals suffering from a mental disorder. In addition to clinical practice, mental health counselors help families deal with grief and mental health issues, such as parenting issues, identity issues, adjustment issues, anger management, drug abuse, and teenage pregnancy.
What Does a Mental Health Counselor Do?
If you need help, you can find mental health counselors at mental health facilities, hospitals, clinics, schools, and mental health organizations. Mental health counselors are specially trained professionals that treat both the mental and the physical aspects of mental health and addiction. They work with people, families, couples, groups, and institutions in various settings. Some types of mental health counselors work as therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, or social workers.
People who might want to work with a mental health counselor include:
- bipolar disorder;
- anxiety disorders;
- eating disorders;
- drug or gambling addictions;
- post-traumatic stress disorders;
- disorders that are related to depression or anxiety.
When you seek help from professionals, you need to make sure that you are getting what you need. In some situations, it might be helpful for you to go to a mental health facility instead of seeing a psychologist on your own. There are mental health professionals in every area that can help you get the help that you need.
How can counseling help?
The work of a mental health counselor helps people deal with the issues that can cause their lives to become distress. If left untreated mental health conditions can worsen to the point of being life threatening. When mental health conditions are recognized early and treated effectively, it can greatly improve the quality of life for a person suffering from the mental health condition. Counselors help their clients recognize, understand, and overcome their mental health condition. They also teach their clients how to live healthier lifestyles, avoid common mental health conditions, and give them the tools they need to cope with stress and anxiety.
Types of Mental Health Counselor
There are many types of mental health counselors. These counselors help their clients to cope with life’s issues by guiding them in the right direction. Counselors also teach their clients skills they need to deal with life’s problems and difficulties. The mental health counselors can provide counseling as a therapy or in group sessions. Sometimes, the mental health counselors help their clients to plan out their future so that they can face the problems when it comes. In order to be a mental health counselor, you must first complete a degree program from an accredited mental health counseling program.
One of the most common types of treatments offered by mental health counselors is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can help people experiencing psychological distress find the causes of their problems. The psychotherapist will give the person tools to deal with the emotional issues, as well as help them learn how to prevent future occurrences. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common form of psychotherapy and works by changing the way a person thinks and acts when they experience negative emotions. Psychotherapy can also help people experiencing mental illness and personality disorders by helping them change their perceptions, behaviors, thought processes, or self-talk. A qualified therapist will be able to determine which type of psychotherapy is best for each patient.
Another type of counselor is the addiction specialist. The addiction specialist requires advanced degrees like masters or doctoral degrees. An addiction specialist has to take special classes that will prepare her for a career as a mental health counselor. Specialization in an addiction area will help you to specialize in the particular disorder like clinical psychology.
There are other categories of mental health counselors available. The cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy counselors teach mental health counselors how to deal with patients with psychological disorders. These counselors form an important part in the treatment process. They help the patients to change their negative thoughts and behaviors towards themselves and others. The behavioral health counselors counsel the families of addicts to alter their living patterns to tackle alcoholism and drug abuse. Some of these counselors help the patients to deal with the withdrawal symptoms during treatment.
The social skills needed by mental health counselors are also taught in a graduate program. The mental health counselors help people deal with issues like social etiquette, how to behave appropriately in certain situations, how to create positive relationships, and other such skills. Counselors also help people learn how to overcome certain phobias, how to relax when anxious, how to work out problems in group settings like parties and church gatherings etc. The counseling programs help the patients to acquire the required skills.
Group therapy is another common type of mental health counseling that many psychiatrists use. Counselors need to work closely with their patients, as well as giving an overall perspective to the patient’s needs. Counseling usually takes place in group settings, where psychologists, social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists meet regularly to discuss the patient’s feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and experiences. This group setting helps provide an environment where everyone can share their concerns and gain support. Counseling can also include homework assignments, group discussions, one-on-one counseling, educational or skill training activities, as well as periodic holidays.
Many mental health counselors also work with patients who have substance abuse problems. Substance abuse counselors help patients suffering from drug or alcohol addiction deal with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, as well as learn to develop a healthier relationship with food. In many cases, substance abuse counselors are also doctors. These counselors work with patients who are at risk for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In addition to working with these clients on an individual basis, substance abuse counselors may work with patients in treatment settings, hospitals, or halfway houses.
As you can see, there are many different types of mental health professionals who each have their own unique set of mental health counselor credentials. Any individual seeking work as a mental health therapist or mental health counselor should keep all of these different types of credentials in mind when looking for work. You never know which type of professional background check that you’ll be required to submit when applying for any type of mental health position. Finding the right mental health position for you can be a bit of a challenge, but knowing what types of mental health counselor credentials you have will help you be prepared.