Counseling (or Counselling). 5 Reasons Why We Need It
By: William Drake
Updated September 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Stephanie Chupein
First let's start off by clarifying that "counselling" and "counseling" are the same thing-a form of therapy. Counselling is the British spelling and counseling is the American version of the same term. But why would we need it? No matter who we are, life gives us challenges.
We are the most equipped to face these challenges when we have the right tools and support. Sometimes, support comes in the form of a counselor. This article will cover five common reasons people need counseling.
1. We Aren't Getting the Help We Need
According to the American Psychological Association, up to one (in four) primary care patients suffer from depression; however, primary care doctors identify less than 31 percent of these patients. That means that there is a real need for mental health care, yet the current tools we have in the medical field aren't fulfilling that need. The statistics speak for themselves, and something needs to change for people to maintain emotional wellness. Part of that shift has to do with showing people the value of counseling. For people to see that value, they need to take the leap and meet with a counselor. Once they do that, they'll notice a dramatic shift in their lives and recognize that their emotional well-being improves.
2. Counseling Treats Mental Illness
If you live with depression, anxiety, or something more severe such as bipolar disorder, you likely experience times of distress in addition to common life challenges. Many people who have a mental illness recognize the value of counseling and see a counselor, whether that person is online or in their area. However, as stated above, there are plenty of individuals who do not receive the care that they desperately need for mental health issues. In fact, there are barriers to mental health services in the United States that are somewhat out of the client's control. Despite the barriers, which we will discuss in a moment, counseling is an excellent way to treat chronic mental illness.
3. Money Troubles
The majority of Americans are in a significant amount of debt. Their financial difficulties could be due to lack of consistent income, poverty, compulsive spending, gambling addiction, substance abuse or other mental health issues. Managing money or matters surrounding money is extremely real and impact our lives on a daily basis. Money can cause people anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental health issues.
Ironically, one of the most significant roadblocks people face when trying to find a counselor and enter counseling is the cost. Many people don't have health insurance or their limited coverage for mental health services prevents them from getting care. There are low-cost clinics where people can get care. However, many times the waitlists for these places is long, and it's difficult to get a therapist promptly. Online therapy could be a more affordable option.
4. When Someone is in Crisis, a Counselor Can Help
When someone is expressing suicidal thoughts, whether those are passive or the person has an active plan to end their life, they can see a counselor for help. If the person in question expresses their troubling thoughts to a friend or loved one, the person on the other end can confidently refer them to a counselor. Counseling is a safe place to express any feelings a person is having difficulty expressing. A counselor is dedicated to helping people get to a place of emotional wellness and stability.
5. Treatment is Accessible in Online Counseling
We live in a technology-centric generation and mental health services have evolved quite a bit over time. The final reason to seek counseling is that there are so many ways to do so electronically! Online counseling is a viable option for treatment. It's vastly more affordable than providers that either don't take insurance or only accept out of network coverage. There are even options to get free counseling for a period before you commit to a long-term relationship with your provider. BetterHelp has an extensive network of professional online counselors who are ready to support you in your journey to wellness.
How Counseling Can Help You and How to Learn More about It
People may not realize how they can benefit from mental health counseling. As you consider your situation, there are specialized counselors available to help you understand your options and how to cope. If you find yourself turning to alcohol when feeling emotional, you may find substance abuse counseling useful. The word counselor pertains to a person advising about something. When considering self-improvement or how to solve a problem, getting help from a counselor is an excellent option with potential long-term benefits.
Counseling programs provide different types of guidance. They help you understand your mistakes and how to make things right. You learn how to deal with unwanted feelings and hurtful emotions. The term counselor may also refer to someone who gives guidance. You may need help navigating through a challenging situation involving a family member or coworker. Counselors work in different ways to provide support and understanding at any point in life.
Sometimes people look down at the thought of counseling. To hear the word counselor may lead one to think they have to be in a crisis to talk to one. In many situations, a person may not understand how counseling is a self-improvement tool or resource. Even counselors benefit when they help others. A counselor counseling someone not only learns about someone’s problems, but they also gain perspective of how their skills and training help others to lead better lives.
When you hear or read the word counselor, consider how people achieved their goals related to their wellbeing and future through counseling. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or wanting to know how you can live better.
Some people may not be comfortable with the concept of counseling because they don’t understand why people go through it. The field of counseling includes a vast area of subjects, including mental health. Please do some research to learn about types of mental health counseling and the different situations it is used. Counselors have a genuine interest in helping others. Highly trained professionals earned a master’s in counseling.
People seeking a qualified counselor to work with may include someone with a specialized degree in counseling. Many professionals that have earned a master’s in counseling programs provide personalized counseling that includes helping others learn problem-solving techniques and how to manage their emotions. Individuals with a degree may have the interest to be a specific type of counselor, such as a camp counselor that works with youth. A person who has experienced emotional or physical abuse may find abuse counseling as a form of guidance to managing unwanted feelings from a toxic relationship. Someone struggling with an addiction may seek substance abuse counseling to help kick bad habits while learning how to deal with negative emotions.
Review tips, advice, and feedback from peers on how to choose a counselor, how to find free or affordable support, and specialized counseling available if you’re in a crisis. Remember, counseling provides advice, guidance, and useful solutions for many problems and concerns. Talking to someone about your problems is a step in the right direction.
Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing different issues.
"I have come a long way. With the help of Alexis, I have accomplished things I thought I'd never do. I am glad I did this, it has benefited me so much. With the guidance and encouragement of Alexis, I am more confident in myself and I see a clear path to success and happiness. I have learned to control myself and not doubt myself. It is hard to let go but I know I will be fine and if I need she will still be here for me. Thank you Alexis you have truly helped me change my life. I am so grateful. I wish you the best!"
"In the short span of 9 months, Shonnie has become like one of my best friends. At first, I was skeptical of doing therapy since I'm very "psychologically healthy". A few challenges in my personal life lead me to try therapy for a month. Now I consider it an important part of my growth as a businessman and leader within my community. Thank you Shonnie for being so helpful during the recent difficulties; I am very lucky to have found you!"
This list is in no way complete, and there are hundreds of good reasons to try counseling. The main reason is that nobody needs to bear any burden alone. You find hope and overcome any difficulty- take the first step.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between therapy and counseling?
Individual therapy and counseling can look very much alike. Both therapists and counselors are licensed by their state to provide individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy. Licensed therapists have taken coursework approved by the state to provide counseling for families, individuals, and couples who are in crisis or in need of advice.
What are the different types of counseling?
There are many different types of counseling available for help with specific issues. For example, people who take part in premarital counseling do so before they plan to marry. There are also options for individual counseling for mental health issues, substance and alcohol abuse counseling, and couples therapy (like marriage counseling) for married couples.
When should I see a counselor?
You should see a counselor for individual therapy, family therapy, or couples therapy if you need advice support or guidance related to mental health issues, substance abuse and addiction issues, or if you need general life advice from a licensed professional. There doesn't have to be an issue to establish a counseling relationship.
What are the goals of counseling?
The goals of individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, and relationship therapy are to help people learn new coping and communications strategies in their relationships. People who get counseling and couples therapy have the advantage of analyzing the reasons behind their behaviors with the guidance and insight of a professional advisor.
How do you know if a therapist is right for you?
When you take part in individual therapy on your own, couples therapy with a spouse, or family therapy with members of the family, you can your therapist should have a comfortable rapport. This is someone who you will be talking to frequently about the most intimate details of your life. Pay attention to how you feel with you have your first individual therapy, couples therapy, or family therapy session with your talk therapy provider.
How much does therapy cost?
The average cost of individual, couples therapy, and family therapy in the United States starts at $65.00 and can go up to as much as $200.00 per hour in a traditional in-office setting. Online options for relationship therapy and individual therapy start as low as $60.00 per week (paid monthly) with leading therapy providers like BetterHelp.com
What happens at your first counseling appointment?
During your first counseling appointment, you and your therapist will become acquainted. Your therapist will determine whether your needs for therapy. For example, are you seeing a therapist for individual therapy or couples therapy? After your counselor learns what your needs are, they will develop a treatment plan for you that outlines how many counseling sessions they recommend and other important details about your treatment. People who take medication or who need additional services may be given a third-party referral.
Is Counselling confidential?
Yes! When you sign up for online therapy sessions with leading therapy providers like BetterHelp, you can be assured that your couples therapy, sex therapy, and individual counseling sessions are completely confidential. When you have sessions with a licensed therapist they are bound by confidentiality.
What is counseling?
In professional psychology, counseling happens when a person meets with a counselor to work out ways to meet their goals or overcome their problems. It can also be called counseling psychology, and the counselors that you work with are known as counseling psychologists, who are highly trained mental health professionals. Counseling psychology is a major type of psychology.
Is a therapist and a counselor the same thing?
It is possible that a therapist and a counselor are the same thing, but most of the time, they are not. The American Psychological Association requires different types of mental health workers to get multiple degrees. While most counselors have advanced degrees, people that do social work, and other important jobs may also have advanced degrees. On the other hand, a therapist is anyone that works with people and talks to them about their problems. In certain circumstances, a counselor is better suited to help with short term issues, and a counselor is suited for more advanced issues that need to be worked out in psychology counseling.
Why do you need counseling?
You may need counseling to work through your problems, help with stress management, and to work through a mental illness of some sort. In the United States, to find a therapist near you, you can talk to your health care provider. Then you will be able to find the right counseling psychologists to help you with your problems, where you can get the support that you need. Additional support can be provided when you meet with a support group, so you may want to ask a counselor about that as well.
How much is an hour of therapy?
In the United States, an hour of therapy can range anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on the professional you are using for counseling and psychotherapy. Some types of counseling cost more than others, and often online counseling is cheaper than in-person services. When it comes to counseling psychology, you are able to shop around to find a therapist you like, so don’t feel pressured to go with someone based on the amount they are charging. Keep in mind that there are additional services as well, that don’t cost anything, such as a support group.
What are the types of counseling?
Some of the most common types of counseling involved in counseling psychology include marriage, mental health, substance abuse, and career counseling. These are all types of counseling that professional psychology and counseling psychologists can help with. Another type of informal counseling is a support group, where you sit in a room of people that have experienced similar life events to you, where you may be able to get advice and support from peers. There is a support group for pretty much anything from social justice to experiencing the loss of a loved one.
What is a counseling session like?
If you have never experienced a counseling session for yourself, there is nothing to be apprehensive about. It generally involves talking to counseling psychologists about what current issues in your life are and how to change them. This type of counseling psychology is designed to help you work through your problems, so you can live your best life. There are different types of psychology, but counseling psychology is one that is designed to help anyone work through issues, stress, and other things that seem to be holding them back.
What should you tell your first visit to a therapist?
The most beneficial things to talk about when you are having a counseling psychology session is why you sought out counseling psychologists in the first place. You may also want to offer a bit of background on your life and your current situation as well, so that the psychology counseling will have a better chance of helping you. The therapist will be able to get a good sense of who you are. Then they will be able to offer you advice, tell you how you can work towards your goals, and even recommend a support group for you to meet with.
What you should never tell your therapist?
You should know that you can be honest with your therapist or the counseling psychology may not work. However, you also don’t have to tell them too much, at least not at first. Like with all the other relationships in life, you should take it slow and build up a rapport before you discuss things that are very personal and private to you, especially if no one else knows these things. This is a good principle to follow in all types of therapy, not just counseling psychology, and can be utilized with a support group, or a medical doctor as well.