Counseling and therapy can be thought of as the building blocks of mental health, or more specifically, mental health care. In its most basic sense, counseling psychology is an academic specialty that encompasses research and clinical work in many broad areas: clinical psychology, assessment and research; counseling process and outcomes; training and supervision; practice and prevention. Within counseling psychology, there is a significant emphasis on how mental health can affect behavior. This line of thinking is generally considered to be a part of social psychology. As a result of this focus, counselors are often very involved in social settings, such as schools, workplaces, and families. They are also trained to deal with a wide range of people, in many different situations.
Counseling psychology addresses many complex issues. For instance, there are those who feel that they are suffering from a mental illness when, in fact, their emotional state is the product of a faulty or troubled environment. Such therapists are also skilled at working with people who may have a difficult past and may present with various behaviors that are indicative of depression, anxiety, phobias, or other more serious mental health conditions. A good counselor will work with any client and address any needs or thoughts that may be presenting. They work to empower clients through a comprehensive treatment plan, and ensure that they receive the best possible outcome for their situation.
In addition to therapy and counseling, there are a number of supports that can play an important role in addressing a mental health issue. The biggest of these is the family. The dynamics of family life can play a role in addressing a problem, particularly if they have experienced similar circumstances or concerns in the past. Family therapy and counseling can help people realize their unique roles within the family, what their personal goals are and how to support each other in meeting these goals.
Many mental health professionals rely heavily on therapy and counseling to develop strong therapeutic alliances. Often, a client will seek out a therapist who shares similarities with them in terms of personal background, experiences, and even philosophy. The two therapists will work together in developing an individualized program for the client. Some programs may focus on cognitive behavior therapy, while others may focus on interpersonal or counseling issues.
Other mental health professionals rely heavily on a combination of therapy and counseling, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists. These professionals often work with other colleagues, including licensed counselors, to help address issues that arise during their practice. Family therapy and counseling can make an enormous difference for someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. While traditional mental health treatments, such as medications and therapy, are often effective for stabilizing moods, sometimes a combination of treatment options may be necessary in order to achieve optimal mental health and wellness.
While many counselors and therapists use a combination of therapy and counseling techniques, not every counselor uses all of these techniques. A good rule of thumb is that the counselor who is the most skilled at communicating with the client is also the one who is going to offer the most comprehensive program of mental health services. Clients should do research to find a certified counselor who has experience in treating a wide variety of clients who exhibit various types of disorders and behaviors. A good counselor will understand which therapies are most likely to lead to improvement in the client’s quality of life.