Could A Mental Health Counselor Make A Difference?

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated May 13, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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Experiencing mental health concerns can impact your daily life or any life situations that need counselling. Although many individuals may try to manage these concerns independently, reaching out to mental health professionals for research-based coping mechanisms can be beneficial. When you do not have anyone to talk to about your daily stressors, your problems may seem insurmountable. 

If you start to feel overwhelmed, your mental health may impact every area of your life, including socialization, hygiene, work, school, or self-care. Seeing a professional mental health counselor or other health professionals may benefit you in learning healthy ways to handle these concerns. Additionally, people can see a mental health counselor for any reason and a mental health counselor works with a wide variety of patients. You do not need a diagnosis to reach out for support.

Millions of people experience mental health challenges, and 41.4 million US adults see a therapist.

Although some individuals might feel embarrassed or shameful about reaching out for help, getting clinical mental health counseling has the potential to make a difference, improve your overall wellness, and show that you’re not alone.

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Millions of people have benefited from counseling

Exploring counseling options with a mental health counselor

Outpatient mental health care provided by professional counselors can assist clients with a behavioral disorder, substance abuse, or to improve interpersonal skills and emotional health. Below are a few ways mental health counseling may make a difference in your life. 

You can learn problem-solving skills 

Clinical mental health counseling may enable you to learn problem-solving skills and critical thinking over time. If you continue to attend counseling sessions, you may be able to address the causes of your anxiety, depression, or other mental health struggles. There are many forms of mental illness and many reasons people reach out for support. 

A qualified mental health counselor is knowledgeable about these issues and can help you discuss them in your therapy sessions. For instance, if an individual is experiencing appetite changes due to depression, how a mental health counselor can help them is in understanding the factors that often cause depressive symptoms to arise. 

You can find professional guidance 

It can also be helpful to discuss your emotions. The thoughts in your head may feel sad, scary, or confusing. When you meet with a professional, you can discuss these concerns in a safe environment where you are not judged or harmed. Knowing that you are connected to a licensed professional counselor may allow you the confidence to address your mental health challenges. 

It may not always feel easy to move forward on your own. A therapist can be a professional to guide you through your issues. Working through these problems together may not be an overnight success, but it could become a success in the long term. If you can commit to the process, you may have the opportunity to change your life and manage your symptoms. 

You may feel understood 

Many individuals experiencing a mental health condition or distressing symptoms may feel that no one else understands what they’re going through. While everyone can have a unique experience, there are millions of people going through similar problems. A mental health counselor may have met with others experiencing your symptoms or studied them in depth. When you attend therapy, you may feel you are meeting with an expert who understands you. 

Connecting to health counselors can mean you don’t have to face your problems alone. If you have habits like social withdrawal when feeling distressed, you may benefit from counseling, as it allows you to connect with another individual in a safe environment. Studies show that social connection is essential to mental and physical health, and meeting with a therapist may help you feel heard and understood. 

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You can receive personalized, useful advice 

Mental health counselors can offer personalized, helpful advice. The mental health counselor may utilize their knowledge of current research and best practices to support you through whatever concern you’re bringing to them. They may offer worksheets, recommendations, or resources to support you outside therapy. 

If you feel your mental health condition has made it challenging to get through an average day, you can start to make improvements through an action-based treatment plan. If you use the techniques your therapist  or mental health counselor offers you, you may start to see improvements over time. 

Mental health support comes in many forms

Modern counseling has many forms, and you can choose the type of therapy you most want to try. Each person is unique, often requiring unique treatment plans to address mental health symptoms successfully. While some individuals may seek an individual mental health counselor to discuss concerns, others may try couples counseling, family therapy, or group sessions. A Mental health counselor works in the human services field and are trained with therapeutic techniques for a variety of needs. Below are some types of therapy to choose from. 

Individual counseling 

Individual counseling can allow clients one-on-one sessions with the practice of their licensed mental health counselor or through an online therapy platform. They may address mental illness, major transitions, life changes, and personal development through these. People may also use this type of therapy to discuss past adverse experiences, relationships, or family dynamics. 

Marriage and family counseling 

Couples and family counseling focus on helping couples and families through concerns and conflict. These concerns may affect the entire unit and involve interpersonal conflict. A couple or family may seek professional support for conflict, communication challenges, grief, a life transition, or changes in values or lifestyle. Marriage counseling is another type of therapy that people might utilize. 

Niche counseling 

Niche counseling services often aim to serve specific populations or people with specific mental health concerns. Niche counselors may have a more profound understanding of the specific challenges, problems, and backgrounds of the clients they serve than someone with a more general counseling background. 

One example of a niche service is equine therapy. Individuals can connect with horses through equine therapy to learn more about their symptoms. Other examples of niche counseling services include services for military veterans with trauma, college students with stress, and LGBTQ-related concerns. Finding a niche counselor can sometimes be challenging, doing a search on an online platform like BetterHelp or finding social workers through social service agencies can be a good place to start.

Support groups 

Support groups are another method clients can use to receive professional support for a specific mental health concern. Group sessions may be more affordable than individual counseling and have the benefit of social support from others. Certified counselors may run them, but the group participants often lead the discussion. The National Alliance On Mental Health (NAMI) and the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America (ADAA) offer support groups in some areas. 

Inpatient mental health services 

Inpatient services refer to clinical mental health services allowing clients to stay overnight or for a period to be treated for their mental health conditions. These services allow counselors to monitor clients experiencing severe challenges or behaviors and avoid escalating health issues. These services are commonly used for crisis intervention. 

If you are experiencing thoughts or urges of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 to talk to someone over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support. 

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Millions of people have benefited from counseling

Counseling options 

One common barrier to treatment for those who want to make life changes is finding the time to commute to an appointment or find an affordable care provider. In these cases, online therapy can be beneficial. You do not have to leave the comfort of your home through an internet-based platform to enjoy the benefits of clinical mental health counseling. 

It is important to remember that therapists and counselors are professional health care providers that specialize in mental health and have passed their state’s licensing board certification process. For counselors, social workers, or therapists a master’s degree is the minimum requirement and these professionals also must take continuing education courses offered through the American Counseling Association or other national institutes. Many counselors wish to become National Board-Certified Counselors which requires them to pass an additional certification requirement. 

If you seek online mental health counseling, you can choose between phone, video, and live chat sessions with your licensed therapist. Additionally, you can search for therapists that specialize in an area you’re struggling with to cut down the time of searching for a proper fit. Many studies have evaluated the effectiveness of professional therapy delivered in an internet-based setting. A meta-analysis of these studies revealed that online therapy could be as beneficial as traditional in-person counseling for various mental health conditions and symptoms. 

If you’re interested in trying counseling to find out how the benefits might serve you, consider signing up with a platform like BetterHelp, which offers a database of over 30,000 licensed therapists specializing in various forms of therapy and symptoms. 

Takeaway

Seeking a counselor can be challenging for some individuals. However, you may find that it allows you to fully address your symptoms with a compassionate professional trained in supporting your concerns. If you’re ready to start, consider reaching out to a counselor for further guidance and support. 
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