Your Options In Receiving Counseling Help

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated April 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention substance use-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Support is available 24/7. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

If you believe you may benefit from receiving counseling help, there may be many options available. Therapy may be helpful for you if you’re experiencing anxiety, have gone through a loss, are living with substance abuse, are having trouble with your relationships, or no longer enjoy the things you used to love. Most counseling approaches are either psychodynamic or behavioral, but there are many counseling subtypes, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find one that works for you. You can also try attending therapy sessions online. 

How do you know if you need counseling help?

Get the help you deserve

It can be challenging to know when to seek counseling help. Often, we tell ourselves things aren’t “bad enough” to reach out for professional support. However, it is not necessary to be in crisis or to have a mental health diagnosis in order to benefit from speaking with a therapist or other mental health professional. Counseling may help people who are experiencing negative thoughts and emotions, job stress, or conflict in relationships.

Here are a few signs that you may need counseling help:

  • You are emotionally overwhelmed
  • You are experiencing sadness over a loss in terms of family, love, or career
  • You have inexplicable and recurring pains or numbness of any body part
  • You are living with substance misuse
  • You feel overloaded with negativity and rejection
  • You do not enjoy the things you used to love
  • You’re having trouble with any one of your relationships
  • Your friends have expressed concern for you

If you can relate to one or more of the bullet points above, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help you deserve. It can be possible to improve your mental health and enjoy your life more fully.

Counseling help options

Research has shown that therapy is an effective, evidence-based treatment for improving mental health. For example, this meta analysis, in which researchers conducted a systematic review of previous studies, concluded that therapy effectively improves psychological well-being.

There are many types of therapy and counseling, but often, it boils down to two general approaches. These are known in clinical psychology as the psychodynamic approach and the behavioral approach. 

In psychodynamic therapies, treatment generally focuses on the unconscious thoughts and motivations behind your behaviors. In this type of therapy, you will often talk about what you have been thinking or feeling during certain situations. Psychodynamic approaches mainly focus on gaining self awareness of how things that have happened in the past influence your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present. This type of therapy may take place over the short term or the long term, depending on the person.

Meanwhile, behavioral therapies, such as CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), usually concentrate on your present thoughts and daily life challenges. It may include techniques like problem solving and training the mind to focus on positive aspects of life instead of dwelling on negative situations. For this type of counseling service, you and your therapist typically identify dysfunctional patterns in your thinking process and adjust them to be healthier and more beneficial. This type of therapy is often short-term rather than long-term. 

Other types of therapy

Within each of these overarching approaches are many more subtypes that you may find helpful. Many mental health professionals combine certain techniques from multiple therapy approaches to meet the needs of the patient. If you are experiencing challenges in your relationship, couples counseling may be an excellent option. You may also choose among options such as individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, depending on your concerns. 

You may also seek out therapy specifically for a particular diagnosis. For instance, if you are diagnosed with a substance use disorder or substance abuse, you may benefit most from substance use counseling. If you have a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy or other evidence-based treatments may be helpful for managing symptoms.

The American Psychological Association provides resources to assist with finding appropriate mental health services and helping people address specific problems. You can often connect with a licensed therapist locally. In many cases, your primary care doctor may also be able to refer you to a counselor whose services are covered by your insurance provider. In addition, your workplace, school, or religious community (if you’re a part of one) may provide counseling services.

Online therapy can make it easy to get help

Get the help you deserve

The thought of starting counseling or therapy, especially if you’ve never tried it before, can feel new and overwhelming. However, online therapy can make the process of getting help much simpler. Rather than finding a local therapist, setting up an appointment, and traveling to their office, you may get help from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have a reliable internet connection. Plus, you can easily switch therapists as needed until you find one you feel comfortable with.

As this study explains, online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy in treating a variety of mental health disorders and concerns. Although some worry that online therapy may not have the same benefits as speaking with a therapist in person, the growing body of research generally indicates that’s not the case at all, and online therapy can even come with additional advantages, such as accessibility and affordability.


Whether you may be experiencing a mental health condition such as anxiety disorder or depression, or if you simply need a listening ear, counseling sessions with a licensed therapist may be able to help you enjoy better mental health. There are many different approaches to therapy, so you’ll likely be able to identify a therapy subtype that will be beneficial for you. Online therapy with a licensed mental health professional can be an excellent place to start. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for your first session and get the help you deserve.
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