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How Can a Mental Health Counselor Help?

Discover how a mental health counselor can help with mental health concerns and improve well-being.

Table of Contents

Who Is a Mental Health Counselor?

A mental health counselor can be well-defined as a licensed expert who helps treat and manage the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive areas of mental health conditions. A licensed mental health counselor works with couples, families, and groups in diverse settings.

Mental health practitioners use various methods to:
  • Restore or preserve mental health
  • Enhance healthy lifestyles
  • Classify individual functioning levels

What Happens When You Talk to a Counselor?

Sometimes we find it easier to confide in strangers than in our friends or relatives. When you decide to get a counselor, you’ll have the opportunity to express your problems in various ways. Counselors are there to listen, provide an outsider’s view, and help you with any concerns or issues you face. In 2019, 9.5% of the adult population in the United States received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional.1
A notable benefit is that counseling sessions are offered through a variety of different mediums. You can attend sessions in person or via phone, video call, or email. Though there are diverse forms of talking therapy, they all aim to make you feel better.

How Is a Mental Health Counselor Different From a Psychologist?

During the process of searching for mental health care, you might get confused about who to approach, wondering if you should consult a mental health counselor or a psychologist. While both can assist with mental health issues, they often have different ways of handling mental health situations.

Role of a Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors focus more on improving overall well-being. For instance, a mental health counselor can help you learn how to cope with stress or teach you healthy coping skills to manage anxiety or depression. They are trained professionals who typically hold a master’s degree and a counseling license to practice.

Role of a Psychologist

Psychologists focus more on diagnosing and treating patients with mental health concerns. They develop specialized treatment plans, conduct psychological tests, and utilize various techniques to help improve patients’ mental health conditions. Psychologists earn a doctorate degree and a license to practice psychology.

What to Expect From a Counseling Session

Perhaps you’re about to start your counseling session for the first time. It could be relationship counseling or counseling for mental health. Either way, below details some information on what to expect during a counseling session:

Your Counselor Will Get to Know You

Your first discussion will center around talking about yourself, allowing your counselor to better understand who you are. This includes your name, educational background, job, hobbies, etc. Also, you will have the chance to know your counselor and their style.

You Will Talk About Your Symptoms

Your counselor will want to discuss any symptoms you experience, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, and how they affect your daily routine. Expect to talk about your symptoms in detail because counselors need to know almost every bit of information to find the best ways to help you.

Your Counselor Will Ask for Reasons You Want Counseling

It is important for your counselor to know and understand why you are seeking counseling. While it is not expected or required to go in-depth with your reasoning during your first session, providing a quick explanation can help the counselor with their next steps. Also, it’s not necessary to tell your counselor all your secrets. If you want to, that is fine, but it is not compulsory.

How Can a Mental Health Counselor Help?

Does counseling help? Research has shown that 80% of people who attend counseling report experiencing improvements in their lives. 2
A mental health counselor can help in the following ways according to your needs:

Understand Your Feelings

Talking to a mental health counselor is unique because you will be free and safe from blame and judgment. Mental health counselors are entirely different from the people and situations that cause you pain. They are experienced, so they won’t be shocked about your problem as they will patiently listen to whatever you want to say without being judgmental.
Mental health counselors will help you understand how you feel, why you’re feeling it, and ways you can effectively control your feelings.

Set Goals for Personal Growth

Goal setting is essential for people in counseling. A medical counselor will help you develop great techniques to set personal goals that will positively impact your mental health.

Identify Issues That Affect Your Mental Health

It is estimated that one in five adults in the U.S. has a mental illness. Unfortunately, it is common for symptoms to go unnoticed or untreated, as it can be challenging to pinpoint specific issues yourself. Thus, speaking to a professional can help you identify and gain insight into factors that negatively impact your mental health.3

Discover Ways to Overcome Them

A professional mental health practitioner will help you devise simple but effective ways you can overcome your mental health issues. It isn’t advisable to try to overcome these issues alone as it could result in unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or drug abuse or addiction.
Counselors can help you discover the cause of your problem and how you can overcome them. They provide a safe and judgment-free environment for you to express yourself and learn how to improve your life.

Teach New Skills and Coping Strategies

Mental health counselors are equipped with tools, techniques, and knowledge to help people manage and improve their lives. Your counselor will teach you healthy coping mechanisms and skills specific to your situation that you can implement in your everyday routine.

Teach More About Mental Health Conditions

A mental health practitioner will open your eyes to more profound knowledge about mental health conditions. Understanding your mental health condition can help you heal in a more significant way, as you will have insight into triggers, symptoms, and behaviors that influence your mental health. These counselors work with families, individuals, communities, and groups to help them improve their mental well-being.

How to Choose a Counselor for Help

Choosing a suitable licensed mental health counselor is very crucial. Therefore, it is essential to follow the guidelines below to ensure you don’t make a wrong choice.

Get Referrals

Ensure you get referrals through friends, relatives, or work colleagues to enable you to choose the right counselor. These referrals will give you the assurance that you will see the positive result you want, and it won’t be a waste of time and money.

Search or Find a Counselor Directory

If you want to pay for counseling for mental health with your insurance, it will be beneficial to look through a counselor directory. That way, you can see which counselors accept your insurance and what payments (if any) are needed.

Verify the Counselor’s Background

It is crucial to search online via their website to know the background of your prospective counselor. You will be able to explore the counselor’s education, licensing, career, and interests (if included). Doing so allows you to choose a counselor with whom you have something in common or feel comfortable.

Take the Theoretical Approach Into Account

During your counseling session, ensure you take into account the theoretical approach for verification purposes. You need to know if these approaches are widely known and practiced and have had significant and positive effects.

Look for a Counselor’s Approach to Helping

Look out for your counselor’s approach to helping you treat your mental health issues. Are your symptoms improving, or are they getting worse? You are free to terminate your counseling session if you’re not getting a positive result.

Interview a Prospective Practitioner

Ensure you have an interview with your prospective counselor to verify the information you have gathered online.

Look Over Online Reviews

Ensure you read all reviews online. If negative reviews outweigh positive reviews, please, do not opt for such counselors, even if their counseling sessions are free.

Use Your Intuition

Your intuition will help determine if you feel comfortable sharing personal information with a prospective counselor and allowing them to help you. That is why holding an interview session with your intended counselor is crucial. When you feel uneasy about them, follow that feeling and do as it says.

When to Seek a Mental Health Counselor’s Help

Mental Health Counselor
When do you need to seek a licensed mental health counselor? Below are symptoms that will assure you the time is right to see a counselor:
  • When specific issues (that do not require serious attention) make you feel overwhelmed
  • When you often get tired, even when you are doing something fun like going out with friends
  • When you always get angry about minor issues
  • If you are agoraphobic
  • When you start losing hope and motivation to achieve goals
  • When you are beginning to lose interest in what you love doing the most
  • When you constantly feel anxious about minor matters even before it happens
Sometimes it can be hard to take that step and seek out counseling. For instance, over forty million people aged eighteen and older have an anxiety disorder each year; however, only 36.9% receive treatment. Listen to your mind and body. If you feel a counselor can help with any adverse symptoms or issues that impact your life, consider contacting a mental health professional.4

Bottom Line

Licensed mental health counselors are available to listen and help you through issues and concerns that affect your daily life. They will give you ample time to talk, express yourself, and let out any emotions you keep inside. You can be totally free with them. If you need a mental health counselor, contact us at Boardwalk Recovery, and be assured you’ll get the help you need.
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