According to Mental Health America, about 19.86% of the US adult population faces at least one mental condition, of which 4.91% experience a severe mental illness. It makes up to 50 million Americans, 26.86% of whom are in Utah.
To be able to help people with mental health conditions, there is a need for specialized mental health counselors, psychiatrists, etc. These are professionals who work in every mental health capacity and sector.
They provide counseling to anyone who needs it. It can be in schools and colleges, private clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, prisons, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Counselors provide support to people experiencing mental or emotional distress. They use specific therapeutic techniques to help their patients exercise cognitive control and deal with stress, anxiety, trauma, depression, etc.
Therefore, let us analyze the crucial role that mental health counselors play. So, without any further ado, let us get straight to the topic.
1. Offer Mental Therapy
Healing mental conditions are not the same as healing the body. Counselors provide cognitive therapy sessions to their patients. However, it would help if you were qualified enough to hold counseling licensure to practice with clinical work experience. If you want to become a counselor, enrolling in Masters in Counseling Online Program could be the first step in that direction.
During the program, you will learn neurocounseling, a study that explores how counseling directly influences brain functions. You will also learn neuroscientific treatment methods and other counseling methods.
You will then be able to apply these methods to counsel students in schools struggling through academic challenges and help veterans adjust to civilian life or addicts battling addiction in treatment centers, rehabs, and clinics.
Cognitive therapy helps counselors understand what the patient is going through and then teach them healthy coping techniques to help overcome the problems they are facing. They can hold individual or group therapy sessions. They can identify and diagnose mental health conditions but cannot prescribe medications.
2. Offer Validation and Support
Counselors ensure that the person they are dealing with feels safe and comfortable by offering them a warm, non-judgmental and caring zone. They also maintain a counselor-patient confidentiality clause to enable the person to open up to them.
They maintain a positive regard for all their patients and treat them equally. In addition, they display empathetic understanding and genuineness while treating each patient. Therefore, no matter how the patient feels or thinks, they receive full validation and support from a professional counselor.
Creating a safe space for traumatized individuals and listening to them without judgment is essential. Only then can a counselor be effective at the job. If they continue doing so for each patient, they can establish long-term relationships with them and retain them as regular clients.
3. Help Break Self-Defeating Habits and Behaviors
Some habits and negative reinforcement can add to the problems in life. Counselors help people navigate their feelings, emotions, and thoughts and align them in sync to make it easier for people to maintain a balance and defeat self-defeating behaviors and habits.
Counseling increases your self-awareness and helps you understand emotional and traumatic triggers and strategies for dealing with them. It enables you to regain control over your old, subconscious habits and replace them with healthy habits.
Self-defeating behaviors can include ignoring something that is burdening you or bothering you, comparing yourself to others, and alienating yourself. People suffering from such behaviors develop negative social behaviors and separate themselves from others leading to social withdrawal.
4. Help Overcome Insecurities
Feeling insecure about something is very common among adults. It can be regarding appearance, abilities, relationships, or personality traits. It can make people blind to all the positive characteristics they have. Counseling helps recognize all the positive attributes and enhances self-esteem and self-confidence.
Counselors play a crucial role in uplifting people by making them recognize their abilities and accept flaws and imperfections as part of being human. They remind people that they do not need to burden themselves with perfection.
Instead, they help people move towards self-acceptance and self-love. Instead of focusing on what people cannot control themselves, counseling helps let go of such situations and enables them to focus on self-love.
Therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy to help people cope with insecurities and flaws.
5. Help Curb Addiction
Being addicted to anything can harm a person’s physical and mental state. Without counseling or therapy sessions, it can be almost impossible to quit addictive habits like smoking, drinking, and doing drugs.
With regular individual and group therapy, people can start to let go of addictive substances and move towards a more positive path, habits, and behaviors. Counselors work in treatment centers and rehabilitation facilities and provide outpatient services to addicts who want to quit.
The role of substance abuse or addiction counselor is especially crucial now more than ever, as addiction cases have increased in the US. They provide mental, behavioral, and emotional counseling to those struggling with addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and intense cravings.
Counselors and therapists play a vital role in uplifting communities by improving the lives of addicts who would otherwise have been lost and withdrawn from society. They help them put their lives back on track and even help them re-enter society if addiction has drawn them away.
Counseling plays a crucial role in healing the mental health conditions of people. You must recognize the role of counselors who offer cognitive therapy to deal with life and its turbulences. They also provide support and validation to all their patients so they feel safe and comfortable to open up to them.
They also help break self-defeating behaviors and habits that lead to negative self-reinforcement. Therapy helps people shift their focus from negative thoughts and habits to positive and healthy ones, making life easier for them.
Counselors also deal with people facing insecurities about their appearance, abilities, relationships, etc. Counseling helps promote self-love, self-esteem, and confidence.
Lastly, it helps people break addictive habits that are impossible. Individual and group therapy sessions help addicts break bad habits and adopt healthier ones.
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