Who Is a Mental Health Counselor?
Mental health counselors are licensed professionals who can treat various mental health conditions by providing support and guidance. In 2020, an estimated 52.9 million adults in the United States had a mental illness.1
Licensed mental health counselors can use a variety of therapeutic techniques to help improve the lives of those struggling with mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.
What Happens When You Talk to a Counselor?
When you talk to a counselor, they will likely ask you questions about your current life situation and what you are struggling with to gain a better understanding of how they can help you. Your counselor will then give you tips and strategies for how you can cope with and manage your condition. During counseling for mental health, you will also create a plan to achieve long-term success during treatment.
Does Counseling Help?
Mental health counseling can be an effective treatment for mental health issues. Talk therapy, a technique that involves the client and counselor utilizing communication to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors, is one of the most commonly used and effective mental health treatment methods. Multiple studies suggest that about 75% of those who partake in talk therapy will see benefits from treatment.2
How Can a Mental Health Counselor Help?
If you are looking into counseling for mental health, you may be wondering, how does counseling help? A licensed mental health counselor can help in many ways that benefit mental health treatment and recovery. Around 9.5% of the U.S. adult population received treatment from a mental health counselor or therapist in 2019.3
Understand Their Feelings
Counselors help clients understand their feelings and how they relate to their condition. By working through negative emotions associated with mental health issues, counselors can help improve mental well-being over time.
Set Goals for Personal Growth
Setting goals for personal growth is an impactful way for counselors and clients to work together, maintain positive influence, and exercise techniques and methods taught in each session. Personal goals allow individuals to stay on track and motivated during the treatment process as well as create a plan for long-term success.
Identify Issues That Affect Their Mental Health
When someone struggles with a mental health condition, it may be the result of other underlying problems. Therefore, counselors identify past and ongoing issues to help clients learn how to work through and manage them in a healthy way. It’s essential to treat both the mental health condition and underlying conditions simultaneously to get the best results during treatment.
Discover Ways to Overcome Mental Health Issues
Mental health counselors work with their clients to discover ways to overcome mental health issues. They provide coping mechanisms and help individuals build life skills to better manage mental health issues on their own.
Learn New Skills and Coping Strategies
Coping skills and strategies learned during counseling sessions can be used in everyday life and stressful situations. Actively practicing healthy coping mechanisms help people manage mental health and deal with the daily stresses of life in a more positive manner.
Learn More About Mental Health Conditions
Counselors educate people about mental health conditions, offering valuable information about their condition, why they are struggling, and how to identify times when they need to manage their mental health.
How a Mental Health Counselor is Different From a Psychologist
A mental health counselor is usually more focused on building relationships with clients and providing tips on how to cope with mental health issues. When receiving treatment from a psychologist, they are more focused on the diagnosis and how the brain functions in relation to mental health issues.
For those who struggle with more severe mental health issues, seeing a psychologist may be a better option since they are more specialized. For those with less severe mental health concerns, counseling can be a less intensive and often more affordable treatment option.
Can a Mental Health Counselor Diagnose?
Licensed mental health counselors can diagnose clients and give appropriate recommendations for treating their condition. However, counselors are not licensed to prescribe medications. If your counselor believes a prescription may be required as part of your treatment program, they may refer you to a doctor or a medical counselor, such as a psychiatrist.
How to Choose a Counselor for Help
Many resources are available for individuals who need help searching for a mental health counselor. Additionally, researching can be a great help when choosing a counselor. Follow the tips below to ensure the counselor you decide is best suited for you and your needs:
- Get referrals
- Get referrals
- Search or find a counselor directory
- Verify the counselor’s background
- Take the theoretical approach into account
- Look for the counselor’s approach to helping
- Interview a prospective practitioner
- Look over online reviews
- Use your intuition
When to Seek a Mental Health Counselor’s Help
It takes people an average of eleven years to seek help for mental health concerns after initially experiencing symptoms. 4 If you believe you are struggling with a mental health condition, there are a few ways to know when it is the right time to seek a mental health counselor’s help. Common signs that indicate you may need to seek help from a counselor are:
- Anxious thoughts: Frequently occurring anxious thoughts are a common sign of anxiety and other mental health conditions.
- Fatigue: If you feel tired all the time or lack the motivation to complete daily activities, it could be a sign that you are struggling with a mental health issue.
- Feelings of hopelessness: Feeling hopeless or worthless is a primary symptom of depression, along with other mental health concerns.
- Overwhelmed: Feeling overwhelmed or stressed from your daily activities could be your body warning you that a bigger underlying issue is present. Daily stress can also cause mental health issues to occur.
- Social withdrawal: If you begin to withdraw from your social life or are no longer partaking in activities you once enjoyed, it may be a sign of mental health problems that require the help of a counselor.
Opportunities for Wellness at Great Oaks Recovery Center
If you or someone you know is struggling with any of these signs and symptoms, remember that help is always available. Great Oaks Recovery Center offers support and evidence-based treatments to provide each client with the help they need for a lasting recovery. Our experienced and compassionate staff are here to identify, address, and treat any mental health concerns and teach healthy coping mechanisms and skills.