It's understandable if you're skeptical about receiving counseling for your mental health. When you have mental health problems, how is counseling going to change that? What you may not realize is just how beneficial counseling can be for you. When being treated for mental illness, it's recommended that you have therapy in addition to other treatments.
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Mental Health Counseling
Mental health counseling, also known as psychotherapy, has plenty of misconceptions around it. People still believe it's like psychoanalysis, an outdated practice involving someone sitting on a couch, telling people about their life problems. Mental health counseling is so much more than this, and it's worth educating the public about it.
Counseling is a relationship between the mental health professional and the client. Besides being referred to as psychotherapy, it's also called clinical mental health counseling due to how much research it uses and how effective it can be.
With counseling, the client and the counselor discuss ways to live in complete emotional health. How long the counseling session lasts will depend on the issue. Some people can resolve their issues within a few weeks, while others may need months or even years to succeed.
When some people think about counseling, they may think about someone who is mentally unstable going. However, this is not always the case. Some people go to counseling and do not have mental health issues. They may have problems in their personal lives, poor relationships, and other problems. Some have marriage issues, while others just want to accomplish a goal with their spouse.
How Mental Health Counselors Can Help You
When it comes to counseling, the counselors have quite a few ways to approach giving help. No one is the same, so there is never a one-size-fits-all approach. A certain counseling approach that may help one person may not be able to help the other, and the counselor and the client will need to experiment with various techniques to find the one that fits them.
The approaches center around a certain focus. The counselor will look at various elements of the individual, such as their thoughts, behaviors, emotions, a combination of everything else, and more. After that, they will approach the situation using different techniques, and here are some that they use. You can look at these methods and see which ones help and discuss them with your counselor.
These therapies focus on the patient's background or how they are as a whole. These include:
This is the stereotypical view of counseling, where someone is lying on the couch while the counselor scribbles down some notes. It was popularized by Freud and is not used that much these days. However, elements of it are used in modern therapy.
Jungian Analytical Psychology
Carl Jung developed this form of psychotherapy, and it involves bringing the unconscious and the conscious to the front of the mind to provide some sense of balance. In these forms of therapy, the unconscious, which is our hidden desires and emotions, controls many aspects of our life. Jungian analytical psychology, along with many other forms of psychoanalysis, helps to dig into the unconscious.
Individual (Adlerian) Psychology
Named after Alfred Adler, this form of psychotherapy is short and focused on goals. Adler believed that our struggles come from inferiority and superiority.
These therapies are focused on one's emotions. It believes that your emotions are important to your overall identity, and you must focus on them if you want to find your true self. These include:
This form of therapy centers around the client. In it, the client takes the focus and talks mostly about themselves, trying to find the answers to all their problems on their own. The therapist is involved as well, but the client is the one who will be discovering their solutions to all their problems.
This form of therapy is focused on your quest for finding meaning. It's centered around yourself as well and involves you making the most rational decisions to find your true self.
Many forms of therapy focus on the past. Gestalt therapy focuses on the present day. This form of therapy allows people to relive experiences by reenacting them and being able to let go of any negative emotions they may have.
The way your brain processes thoughts can be its downfall. Sometimes, we have a self-defeating cycle of thoughts, and we must learn how to break the cycle by changing our thinking. Examples of thought therapies include:
This form of therapy works because it helps to change one's way of thinking. Our thoughts can be self-defeating and make the problem worse. For example, if you are trying to do business, thoughts about the business failing can cause you to abandon your business. Cognitive therapy strives to help you by replacing negative thoughts with more positive solutions.
Sometimes, our problems are due to our behaviors. They can be instinctual and make it seem like you don't have control over anything, but this is not the case. Examples of behavioral therapies include:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
This form of therapy helps you by promoting mindfulness, where you're focused on the present. It promotes other forms of therapy, as well.
Acceptance and Commitment
Mindfulness is also used in acceptance and commitment therapy, along with learning how to accept your life and let things go.
There are many benefits to mental health counseling, which can be referred to as counseling for,
- mental health
- mental wellness
And here are some of the biggest benefits of getting help from a licensed mental health counselor:
Helps You To Get Things Off Your Chest
Whenever you are having problems of your own, you may not know how to explain them properly. You may not know the right words or the right people who you can vent to safely. This is where counseling comes in. A mental health counselor will listen to your problems and provide the solutions you need.
Gives You Your Empowerment
It's hard for some people to feel like they are powerful. They may have low self-esteem or have a past where they were told they weren't good enough. Counseling helps people by giving them their empowerment and control over their lives.
Sometimes, we just have to accept that bad things happen. It seems easy, but the mind can prevent people from acceptance. For example, grief. It's hard to accept that your loved one is gone, and you may go through many grieving processes before you accept it. One way you can make the grieving process easier is to talk to a counselor and learn the power of acceptance.
Gives You Motivation
Motivation is the driving force of life. It teaches us how to keep our eyes on the prize even if the circumstances are against you. It starts you and then keeps you going. The problem is that many people want to do something, such as start a business or complete a life goal, but they don't have the drive. A counselor can help teach you how to be more motivated and keep you going.
Teaches You How To Cope With Mental Health Problems
Many who go to counseling have depression or anxiety. When they have an anxiety episode, therapy can help them learn how to handle it and get control back on your life. For example, you can practice breathing techniques to calm your anxiety down. For depression, you can learn how to be on a routine that helps you to keep going even if your mind is telling you to know.
Teaches You Valuable Life Skills
Many life skills were just not taught in school, but have no fear. A counselor can teach you life skills. Be it book smarts or street smarts, you can learn how to use these skills to your advantage. For example, social skills. Social skills allow you to talk to people and prevent you from miscommunicating. Learning these life skills in counseling with a mental health counselor can help you navigate life with more confidence.
Helps You By Changing How You Think
Has anyone ever told you to "stop worrying" when you're having anxiety or are stressed? While not worrying so much can benefit you, this comment is usually unhelpful because no one can change how they think. However, what a person can do is talk to a therapist or counselor and use cognitive behavioral therapy to start to change how they think. The way that we think and talk to ourselves, or self-talk, is developed as we grow up so don't be too hard on yourself if you find changing your self-talk and thought process difficult in counseling. A mental health counselor can help guide you in counseling to slowly but surely change how you think and improve your mental health wellness.
Seek Help From a Licensed Mental Health Professional!
As you now know, mental health counseling is more than just speaking to someone on a couch. Counseling has many benefits that can keep a person strong and ready to take on anything that life has to offer. If you've considered counseling, now is the chance to reap its benefits for your mental health. Talk to a therapist today and see what they can do for you in counseling. You can learn how to treat your mental health problems, learn how to cope with people, and find the motivation to complete all your life goals. You have little to lose by talking to a therapist, but a whole lot to gain.