Even a few years ago, talking about mental health issues had a significant stigma attached to it. Despite suffering from mental health challenges, few Americans would speak out about their struggles. The past two years have changed our perception of mental health concerns.
As more people struggled to cope with the pandemic and its implications, more were happy to open up about their challenges. The services of mental health counselors were suddenly in high demand. But what do mental health counselors do?
Why Counseling Helps
Mental and behavioral health counseling is one treatment option for anyone facing cognitive and behavioral health challenges. Counseling works as a therapy when the initial problem or challenge has developed into a condition that can be diagnosed. But in many cases, counseling is a good way to prevent a problem from becoming a disease.
Counseling offers a safe environment to discuss mental and behavioral concerns. Clients do not need to fear judgment or ridicule. Instead, they can share their concerns, secure knowing that an empathetic ear is listening and actively looking for solutions.
What Mental Health Counselors Do
Mental health counselors are certified and licensed professionals that offer support and treatment to anyone suffering from a mental health condition. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, more than one in four Americans over 18 have to deal with a diagnosable disorder every year. Some people suffer from more than one mental health condition at a time.
Mental Health Counselors are an integral part of the treatment team for anyone suffering from mental or behavioral health problems. Even if someone is experiencing only mild symptoms, the effect on their quality of life can be severe. Early access to high-quality support is critical to avoid long-term consequences.
Most mental health counselors start by assessing the condition of their clients before suggesting a course of treatment or specifying the number of sessions required. Counselors will evaluate the problem itself and start looking for triggers such as relationship challenges and general life issues.
Sometimes, they may look back as far as the client’s childhood to identify the origin of the current concern. A counselor focuses on accessing the root causes that led to currently visible symptoms.
Conditions Mental Health Counselors Treat
Some mental health counselors specialize in one area, whereas others treat various conditions. Which approach works better for you depends on the challenges you are facing. It is not uncommon for people to struggle with multiple mental health issues simultaneously.
Despite specializations, mental health counselors, in general, are trained to support their clients with a range of conditions, including:
- Personality disorders
- Eating disorders
- Adjustments to significant life challenges
- Substance abuse and more
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health concerns in the United States. Nearly 10% of American adults suffer from illnesses like bipolar disorder or major depression every year. Not everyone is equally at risk. Women, for example, are twice as likely as men to develop a major depressive disorder.
Numerous counselors treat both mental and behavioral health issues. While often used synonymously, there are crucial differences between the two. Behavioral health care and counseling address daily cognitive habits that help balance physical and mental health.
How to Choose the Right Counselor for You
Building a relationship with a mental health counselor requires a high level of trust. This trust may be tricky to establish over a short period, but it starts with finding a qualified and fully licensed counselor.
Most mental health counselors have completed a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field. In addition, many have also gathered clinical experience. Others come from a social work background and bring a different skillset to their counseling practice. Reputable counselors are clear and upfront about their qualifications and areas of expertise.
Beyond degrees and expertise, it is also essential to consider how counseling will fit into a client’s daily routine. If both counselor and client are geographically close, it is easy to attend in-person counseling sessions. On the other hand, if the most qualified and suitable counselor is based on the far side of town or even further away, telehealth counseling sessions may be better.
Online counseling can deliver the same benefits as in-person sessions. Remotes may be the only option. For those with a hectic schedule past two years, most mental health counselors have started offering both types of counseling. As a client, you may not need to choose one form or another but instead be able to combine both as necessary.
There is nothing wrong with considering several different counselors until you find someone whose experience and personality match your requirements. Consider using a proven mental and behavioral health care provider like TrueCare.
Our comprehensive mental and behavioral health care services comprise an extensive network of specialists based throughout the United States. That makes it easy to find a counselor near you while giving you access to specialist skills through remote sessions if there is no suitable expert in your area.