How Can a Mental Health Counselor Help?
Untreated mental disorders affect the mind, the body, and your life. A mental health counselor may help.
What is a Mental Health Counselor?
Mental health conditions manifest in a variety of ways, and their effects can be dire, so it’s necessary to take the right precautions against them. A mental health counselor should be your go-to provider for mental health treatment, especially for substance use disorders. 1
Mental Health Counselors are licensed professionals who treat the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of substance use disorders and mental health conditions. They work with families, individuals, couples, and groups in a wide range of settings, and provide a variety of functions. Counselors may specialize in treating specific mental health disorders, or cater their services to meet the needs of specific populations.
Mental Health Counselors vs. Other Mental Health Professionals
Mental Health Counselors vs. Psychologists
Psychologists and mental health counselors may offer similar services but they are different. Mental health counselors treat depression, bipolar disorders, phobias, substance use disorders, among others. Clinical psychologists evaluate and treat behavioral tendencies. Mental health counselors hold accredited Master of Arts degrees in Counseling, and spend 2-3 years of supervised counseling training. Clinical psychologists hold a doctorate with several years of training and research. 2
Mental Health Counselors vs. Therapists
A therapist is a professionally trained individual who provides therapy to clients. They address either physical or mental disorders. Therapists and counselors occupy the same treatment space and may be used interchangeably at some point. However, the critical difference between therapists and counselors is how they approach treatment.
A counselor may practically address a specific problem, challenge, or behavior by providing tactics to ward off substance abuse cravings or recommending steps to reduce effects of alcoholism. In these cases a counselor uses a targeted and directed problem-solving approach.
How Can a Mental Health Counselor Help?
Mental health counselors can assist in treating a variety of conditions and symptoms, helping patients to develop healthy habits and improved mental wellness.
Conditions Mental Health Counselors Can Help
- Anxiety – Counselors can help with anxiety by addressing clients’ concerns and providing skills to cope with symptoms of anxiety.
- Depression – Counselors may help clients with depression identify external factors which contribute to their depression symptoms, and offer suggestions on ways to relieve them.
- Substance abuse – The support and accountability offered by a counselor is crucial to many people’s recovery from substance use.
- Sexual dysfunction – Counseling provides clients a safe space to examine anxieties, and cognitive distortions, which may contribute to sexual dysfunction.
- Eating disorders – Eating disorders are complex and counseling may help clients’ to develop better understandings surrounding their own symptoms and behaviors.
- Personality disorders – Counseling can be a useful tool for clients to dissect cognitive distortions common in personality disorders.
- Dementia – Elderly clients affected by dementia may receive benefit from counseling to address the feelings of disorientation caused by the disease.
- Adjustment disorders – For those who experience significant difficulty in adapting to major life events and changes, counseling can provide clients tools to better manage their symptoms.
Symptoms to Consult a Mental Health Counselor for Assistance With
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Struggling to focus
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities
- Inability to carry on with daily routines
- Ideations of harming yourself or others
Techniques that Mental Health Counselors Use
Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
It’s important to prioritize relaxation and stress relief when feeling overwhelmed. Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises can help feelings of tension. Counselors and therapists may also have specific self-care recommendations for their clients. Eating a balanced, varied diet and getting enough sleep are all important cornerstones of wellbeing.
Identifying Personal Stressors and Levels of Functioning
Stressors can be anything–anything from conversations to household responsibilities. The sooner stressors can be identified, the better. Noticing specific circumstances that trigger mental illness symptoms can let you be aware of and prepare for exposure to triggers, or even avoid them entirely.
Preserving or Restoring Mental Health
Mental health is crucial for overall well-being. A healthy mind leads to a healthy lifestyle. Mental health counselors can help us notice when we’re being overly critical to ourselves, or viewing through a disproportionately negative lens. Maintaining a positive outlook can be a challenge, so having the help of a mental health counselor to encourage and guide positive thinking can help it to develop into a habit.
Different Types of Psychotherapy
Some of the psychotherapies used by mental health clinicians are detailed below.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps identify destructive thought patterns that negatively influence emotions and behavior. Once recognized, these patterns can be molded into more positive thoughts and feelings. CBT can be seen as identifying negative thoughts, challenging them, and replacing them with more realistic and objective views.
- Early-life experiences
Supportive therapy is an approach that helps by increasing personal self-esteem. Therapists may coach you on managing your anxiety and unhelpful thoughts by yourself. Therapists may also incorporate alternative and/or complementary forms of therapy when necessary to use in conjunction with supportive therapy.
Find A Mental Health Counselor at Pacific Beach Health
What To Expect During A Mental Health Counseling Session?
Get Help Now at Pacific Beach Health
Getting help for yourself or someone you love is one of the most beneficial choices you can make about your or someone else’s health and wellbeing. Contact Pacific Beach Health to get in touch with professionally trained mental health professionals. For any queries or information on psychotherapies or other forms of therapies, our extensive team of mental health counselors will be happy to help you get the help you need.