"Mental health" and "counseling" mean different things to different people. In some cases, people assume patients are ill, crazy, depressed or weak, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from mental health counseling–not just people with serious or long-term issues.
Providers and What They Offer
Mental health providers come under a variety of titles and specialties. They include psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, clinical social workers, therapists, and even religious ministers. Every state in the U.S. offers licensure or certification for counselors and standards for achieving this status are strict: minimums include clinical practice, a master’s degree, and successful completion of an examination.
Services can be found in numerous locations as well: clinics, private offices, businesses, governmental or correctional facilities, and hospitals. Some providers will even meet clients in settings of their choice. Accordingly, care can be given through in- or outpatient services which may address general mental health, crisis response, or addiction issues and may be long- or short-term.
Counselors specialize in helping people change their lives. In some cases, that involves addressing significant and lasting issues or recognizing underlying health problems. Patients with serious medical, behavioral, emotional, or psychological challenges may benefit from inpatient services and continued outpatient contact in the form of individual counseling, group counseling, or other support groups.
In other cases, counselors can help individuals who want to address and change single or limited issues in their lives. They can aid in developing positive approaches to relational issues, work life stress, or traumatic life events. Nearly any life challenge can be an example of this category: marital strife, desire to lose weight, or pursuit of a new career following dismissal.
In any case, providers should be able to recognize the degree of severity of a patient’s issues and recommend appropriate treatment as well as help him pursue that treatment. For many people, simply discussing their problems with a good listener can bring immense relief and clarity. Mental health counselors excel at listening and responding in order to bring a patient toward understanding and solutions for themselves. For other people, treatment involves months or years of therapy combined with medication or alternative therapies. Professional providers are crucial for success with long-term issues.
Positive Change for Anyone
Providers are trained to understand how people think and what it takes to achieve lasting change and success. They may recommend extensive lifestyle changes or mental strategies. Regardless of the extent or topic of a patient’s distress, mental health professionals can guide and empower anyone to a more positive and successful life. Counseling exists for all types of challenges and goals, whether that is overcoming substance abuse or the loss of a child. Everyone can benefit from counseling!
If you are interested in mental health counseling, the team at the University of Behavioral Health El Paso is here for you!