Counseling and therapy are one of the oldest professions and continue to be an indispensable element of our society. Throughout history, people from all walks of life have turned to a professional who can help them deal with the many issues in their lives. In modern times, counseling and therapy have become almost universally recognized as a legitimate form of health care. Many people report that going to a licensed therapist or counselor in the presence of a trained counsellor or psychologist helps them deal with difficult life transitions. There are many reasons for seeking therapy. It may be due to a recent tragic event such as divorce or death of a loved one, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, or relationship stress; it may also be due to social problems such as workplace stress, bullying, and interpersonal relationships.
The first step in the process of counseling and therapy is assessment. During assessment, a professional counselor or psychologist questions his or her clients about past life experiences and current life issues. This includes a detailed examination of the client’s childhood environment, childhood relationships, family dynamics, work/social environment, and self-image. The goal of this assessment is to provide the clients with the information they need to develop a plan for treatment.
Once assessment is complete, the next step is to identify the specific needs of the client. In general, most counselors work with a single variety of clients, while some work with a range of different ages, cultures, and types of situations. Counselors also vary in terms of methods they use. Some utilize one-on-one counseling with the clients in person, while others utilize group therapy or online/phone therapy. Counselors who use Internet based programs are considered “self-help” counselors, while those who use one-on-one contact on the phone are considered “intervention” counselors.
Counselors will also work with their clients to explore their past experiences as well as present circumstances. Past experiences can include any form of abuse, neglect, or hardship experienced in one’s childhood. Counselors also examine the emotional and mental factors that contribute to well-being, such as support from peers and family, as well as maintaining adequate sleep and nutrition. A therapist may help his or her client’s change unhealthy behaviors and thoughts, as well as develop new healthy ones.
Counseling and therapy differ from clinical social work in many ways. First, while a clinical social worker is primarily concerned with patients’ therapy progress, a professional counselor is primarily concerned with the clients’ well-being at the time of the consultation. Additionally, a clinical social worker requires extensive scientific training and is supervised by a licensed psychologist. Finally, a clinical social worker does not provide counseling services. A counseling and therapy professional counselor to provide these types of services.
Counseling and psychotherapy are an important aspect of treatment for a variety of mental disorders including anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, depression, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and eating disorders. There are many other conditions that fall under the category of counseling and psychotherapy. Counseling can be used to address a range of psychological problems such as phobias, dysfunctional relationships, post traumatic stress disorders, and insomnia. Counseling can also be used in conjunction with medication and/or psychotherapy to enhance recovery.