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Counseling 101

If you’re wondering what mental health counseling encompasses, you have come to the right place. Here we will explore the benefits of mental health counseling, misconceptions, therapeutic approaches, and goals within therapy.

Mental health counseling involves a professional relationship between a trained therapist (Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Social Worker, Psychologist, and Psychiatrist) and a client. It’s important to note that a client is someone who does not have any other type of relationship (i.e., friendship, romantic partnership, family member, etc.) with the trained professional as this could blur the therapeutic relationship. Ideally, the counselor provides a safe, confidential, non-judgmental space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, experiences and help identify goals to enhance overall quality of life.

Benefits of mental health counseling include:

  • Improved self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-compassion.

  • Increased sense of self and purpose.

  • Improved communication and boundary management.

  • Recognition and restructuring distorted thinking.

  • Improved conflict resolution abilities and problem-solving/decision-making skills.

  • Relief from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder.

  • Improved organizational skills and decreased interference with symptoms of ADHD.

  • Ability to manage stress in a healthy capacity.

  • Processing of grief, trauma and transitional stressors.

  • And so much more!

Common misconceptions surrounding engagement in mental health counseling and services alike can often shy people away from seeking such services. One of the biggest misconceptions is that those struggling with mental health are “weak” and if they were “stronger,” they would not have a mental health condition. Mental health does not discriminate nor does it make one weak, un-intelligent, and “crazy.” Recognizing the need for help often requires strength and courage. Another common misconception surrounding mental health treatment is the fear surrounding being hospitalized or “locked up” with transparency surrounding mental health symptoms. Mental health providers have gained training and education surrounding safety concerns and can develop a plan that promotes safety and reassurance. Another common misconception is that you need a specific problem or conflict occurring to engage in mental health counseling. Mental health counseling can be just as beneficial with an identified problem or not!

There are various therapeutic approaches used within counseling sessions. Common therapeutic approaches include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Trauma-Informed Therapy, Person-Centered, EMDR, Mindfulness, Solution-Focused, and so much more. Different mental health providers may integrate multiple approaches depending on their training, theoretical orientation, and needs/goals of their clients.

The overall goal for mental health counseling is to promote mental well-being, alleviate stressors and symptoms related to mental health conditions, and enhance quality of life. Mental health treatment can help client’s identify their strengths and resiliency, improve relationships, decrease stressors, build coping strategies, instill mindfulness, and so much more.

If you are on the fence on trying mental health counseling services, I encourage you to take a leap of faith and reach out to get scheduled today!


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