Why Everyone Can Benefit From Counseling Therapy

Updated August 25, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team

Each person will experience challenges or difficult periods in their life, and for this reason, all people can benefit from some form of counseling. Many adults can use a simple counseling session to figure out a single complex situation in their lives and may not need long-term therapy. Many still may want to look at self-improvement, looking to become a more positive person or want to learn how to maintain a heathy relationship. Counseling and therapy can be a mean to any number of ends, and the question of counseling versus therapy depends on need. If are wondering if therapy is something that will help, read on. This article helps clarify what counseling is, including how it is different from therapy, and explains the many benefits you can glean from seeking professional support. 

Counseling Vs. Therapy

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The word “counseling” and the word “therapy” are oft used interchangeably to refer to the same or similar clinical activity. However, these words have a distinct separation. Counseling typically focuses on short-term goals and includes advice-seeking. It will look at the patient’s current anxieties and worries and seek to guide them on a healthy path to success. Counselors are always licensed and may themselves have a medical degree or PhD. 

As opposed to counseling, therapy focuses on long-term growth and typically addresses dysfunctional thinking and behavioral modification. A therapist often uses talk therapy to serve their clients and there may also follow a formal diagnosis of a mental health condition. Therapy will often involve a plan of action with  clearly stated therapeutic goals, and these sessions will seek to establish cause and effect for behaviors and thinking. 

There are benefits and drawbacks to both counseling and therapy. Therefore, the question of counseling vs. therapy is not of which one is better, but rather which is appropriate for your mental health. Through online counseling therapy, you can determine the underlying reasons for roadblocks in your life or other needs you may have. Talk therapy, behavioral treatments, and formal referrals to in-person specialists are all possible with this service.

What Is Counseling?

In life, we frequently swim against a strong current through a sea of intense stimuli, demanding our attention. Even before the development of social media and the internet, society has always needed counseling. The complexity of everyday living will inevitably produce questions with answers that are not immediately obvious. Therapy and counseling are important parts of society, and they both have their merits and drawbacks. Counseling has its place in the workplace and in schools as guidance counselors and informal settings. Counseling is an appropriate first step when one has not been to therapy and suspects there are deeper issues. Your counselor may a recommend a therapist, or often the counselor can perform more long-term therapy depending on need if they have the necessary qualifications.

Counseling is beneficial because it requires little commitment, is short-term, and can be low-impact. One also need not worry about the prescription of treatments and medication in this instance. Counseling is used to talk out issues and, often, patients can arrive at their healthy conclusions with a little introspection. When counseling does not work or is not helping, then long-term therapy may be recommended. One drawback of counseling is that said low commitment may lead to a patient’s lack of retainment. The patient-counselor relationship is of utmost importance to effective mental health treatment, and in sessions designed for short-term exploration, that relationship may not develop to the level of trust and depth that is needed to resolve serious or long-term issues. 

Why Therapy?

We are the product of so much more than our immediate experiences. Every second of your life leading up to this point has informed everything about you, both physically and mentally. Choices you make, choices made for you, and the choices of those around you all come together to make up who you are. The layers of self can be likened to an onion, and as you peel one layer, you find so many more to explore. If you stay on the outside, exploring the cause-and-effect of yesterday and tomorrow only, you will not know yourself on a deeply personal level. If you dig too deep too fast, your onion will have a gaping hole in it, and you may find you are not familiar with any single layer.

Therefore, therapy may be necessary. Deep-seated personality traits and mental illness that continually interfere with your life need nuanced and thorough understanding. Therapy is a discipline that seeks to, through careful examination, first understand the patient. When using online counseling therapy that requires a long-term solutions, your therapist will commit to developing a full client relationship with you. The hallmark of mental illness is that it can interfere with self-growth, and so the drawback is in the commitment. If a patient commits to treatment with a therapist that does not work out for them, they may feel they have wasted their time. It is vital to match the right therapist and speak out if current therapy does not seem to work.

Understanding Ourselves

The brain is a big, complex organ – the most intricately designed in the human body, more complex than any computer yet behaving in similar ways. It is capable of thousands of processes per second and making arbitrary and unpredictable connections with split-second decisions. Every new experience, every touch, every new thought creates a novel mental connection. This process of creating new connections is the most efficient, quick, and intense in childhood. Therefore, childhood experiences are incredibly impactful on personality. 

According to an article published in Scientific American, changing one’s mind involves complex coordination between multiple structures within the brain. This complicated process makes it difficult to take a leap towards change. 

Necessary to everyday function – to get out of bed, brushing your teeth, going to work, talking to friends – is how we process. Every social interaction, every bad fight, every pleasurable experience, they are all a part of the tapestry of our personalities. Athletes use habit to train themselves to push further and further, students are training in their chosen field, and you are training your brain. All these experiences can carry with them a lingering effect that we may be unable to understand on our own. A licensed therapist can help decipher our complex experiences and guide us in strategies to deepen self-awareness and personal acceptance. 

Reaching For Help

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Does Everyone Need Counseling?

While saying that everyone needs counseling is not necessarily true, each person can benefit from seeking counsel. Counseling therapy can be considered as a tool in your toolbox, a means of understanding yourself. You may want to kick start that new career move; you may have financial worries and struggle with a personal project. All can be worked through in a counseling session. 

You be concerned that there is a stigma surrounding therapy, precipitated by the idea that you are weak and are unable to manage life’s challenges on your own. On the contrary, seeking therapy means you are strong enough to ask for help. We are not born with all the answers. Whether with a diagnosed mental health condition or not, everyone can use the tool of self-knowledge.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers, including licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), have projected job growth of 16% into 2026, from 2016. This broad category includes mental health counselors, substance use counselors, child welfare workers, school counselors, and more. This growth in mental and social health care workers is a reflection of the immense need of mental health support that all people can benefit from. 

The number of Americans seeking therapy is steadily increasing. Take anxiety disorders for example. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect 18% of the adult population and 25% of children between 13-18. Many disorders go undiagnosed, and anxiety disorder is one of many. Above and beyond the need to diagnose and treat these disorders, the prevalence and stigma associated with mental illness continues to be ignored by contemporary society. For this reason, the need for people to reach for and find highly qualified professional mental health counseling is more important than ever. 

Why Online Counseling?

If you find that it is difficult to find a therapist in-person, online therapy is supported by research to be a cost-effective and highly beneficial alternative to in-person therapy. For example, a current study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics researched the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of online therapy versus in-person in 154 participants who were managing depressive disorder. The researchers concluded that online therapy was equally effective at treating depression and was less expensive than in-person therapy.

Through online counseling therapy, anyone can quickly study their mind with a counselor or therapist’s help. Perhaps you are worried about moving to a new location or need some advice on a rough patch in your relationship. The purpose of therapy and counseling is to improve your life direction and to not feel any form of shame or embarrassment for being you. 

Being able to talk to an online therapist from the comforts of your own home can make a world of difference to a person who has an extremely busy schedule, cannot take off from work, has no insurance, or those who are concerned with being seen walking into a clinical office. Furthermore, the act of making appointments, getting dressed, and commuting to the office can all grow overwhelming, especially if you are already managing a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. Many may often choose to avoid therapy altogether for these reasons. With online therapy, these obstacles are completely removed, and a person can receive support in the safety and comfort of their own home.

Finding The Right Therapist

It can be hard, however, to match with the right therapist.  is a place for you to reach a diverse variety of psychotherapists who serve their clients online. This online therapy platform is also a matching service for patients to find the right online counselor or therapist. Using the form on the pre-match page, you will answer a 15-20-minute questionnaire that will form a baseline that can point to who you are what you are managing. This matching service is not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but will be used to connect you with a therapist whose skill set and experiences are copacetic with your needs. If you feel that this is a path you would like to explore, do not hesitate to reach for help. 

Takeaway

The brain is like a muscle: it can be trained and exercised, and through this process, grow stronger at certain tasks. The inverse is also true: when skills, thoughts, mental exercises are not used frequently, the brain’s ability to process them begins to “atrophy.” It is important to understand yourself, no matter what stage of life and mental health you are in. Whether you have been diagnosed with or are experiencing mental illness symptoms or have short-term worries or improvements you want to make, know that you are not expected to have all the answers. An online counselor or therapist is available to help you on your journey in self-discovery and personal growth. 

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