Mental Health Counseling 101

July 15, 2013

What is mental health counseling and how might it benefit you? This is a question facing many people today, as mental illness sheds its stigma and steps into the spotlight. Mental health counseling can play an important role in mental health treatment, regardless of the severity of a diagnosis. But when you’re new to mental health care, it might all seem a bit foreign to you. Today we’ll give you an overview of mental health counseling, a valuable service for people living with a mental illness.

Mental Health Counseling 101

What is Mental Health Counseling?

Counseling is a type of treatment provided by trained mental health professionals. Services may include psychotherapy, assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, solution-centered therapy, substance abuse therapy, and crisis management. The goal of mental health counseling is to get to the root of the mental illness and develop a plan for managing it.

Who Can Benefit?

Anyone can benefit from mental health counseling, even those who don’t have a diagnosable mental illness. You do not have to be in the severe stages of a diagnosis to gain from counseling. In fact, the earlier you seek treatment, the more successful it is likely to be. If you are living with mental illness, it can help you sort through a complicated mass of emotions and triggers so you can live a happy, healthy life. Counseling can also help your friends and family members to understand what you are experiencing and how they can get involved with treatment.

What Format Will It Take?

You may have an image in your mind of what mental health counseling looks like: you, on a couch, while a psychologist perches on a chair and asks you probing questions. In some ways, this may not be far from the truth, but remember that what you see in movies and what happens in real life are often very different. Counseling comes in many forms, not just one-on-one, although that is one type. You may also experience group therapy, with others in a similar situation, or family therapy, where you and your loved ones sit down together in a safe, controlled, therapist-guided environment. Each person will benefit from a different combination of therapy types.

Who Are The Counselors?

When seeking mental health counseling, always go to an accredited therapist. Qualified professionals have been trained in various methods, usually hold master’s degrees in counseling, and have had a minimum of two years’ supervised work after completing their education. These counselors draw on a number of therapies, including traditional and modern methods, to give you an individualized program that can best address your needs.

Where Can I Find Counseling?

Mental health counseling is available at hospitals, community centers, behavioral health care centers, and independent practices, just to name a few. The best treatment center for you will depend on a number of factors, such as location, cost, convenience, and qualifications.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness and is facing financial obstacles to services, please call us at 1-800-338-5770.  At Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation we provide access to low-cost or no-cost mental health services through a variety of community mental health centers and professionals.  We also offer educational workshops for families and professionals.