Mental health counseling is a form of treatment that helps people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds achieve a better state of emotional wellbeing. Mental health counselors can work with individuals in one-on-one therapy sessions. They can also conduct group therapy, work with couples, or work with families. Mental health counseling can take place in a counselor’s private practice office, in community centers, in rehabilitation clinics, or facilities such as jails or hospitals.
Who can benefit from mental health counseling?
You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition to receive mental health counseling, but those living with mental illness do benefit from it. You might seek mental health counseling for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or other conditions such as eating disorders or substance use disorders. People seek advice to deal with daily life stressors such as those involving work, school, and relationships. Adults, teens, and children can all attend mental health counseling. You are never too old or too young to seek this form of treatment, and it can be helpful for anyone in navigating their life. Many people consider mental health counseling to be a life-changing experience.
When should you seek mental health counseling?
You can seek mental health counseling whenever you’re going through a difficult time or need someone to talk to about your feelings. If you are experiencing significant distress for any reason, such as a job change, loss in the family, or struggles within your interpersonal relationships. You should seek counseling if you:
- Experienced a traumatic event
- Live with a mental health condition
- Are struggling with anger issues
- Feel down or “not like yourself.”
- Don’t feel joy in the things you used to do
- Abusing substances or engaging in other risky behaviors
- Recently lost a loved one or someone that you were close with
- Feel stuck or excessively anxious
Maybe you don’t resonate with any of the above signs above; you can still seek help from a counselor. What you’re going through is valid, and you don’t have to wait until your symptoms are ruling your life to seek help.
Finding a safe haven in counseling
Some people fear seeking help from a mental health professional because they’re afraid of the stigma surrounding it. It’s a common fear that can prevent people from seeking therapy. Many people are fearful of not being accepted in therapeutic settings. The good news is that many therapists specialize in working with populations such as the LGBTQ community, and people of diverse cultural backgrounds or religions. Some clinicians specialize in particular conditions, age groups, and modes of therapy. It’s a good idea to interview a mental health counselor before you see them ensure that they’re a good fit for you. You want to make sure that they’re a person you feel safe talking to in sessions. You should feel like you’re able to be yourself in therapy. Making the step to seek mental health counseling isn’t easy, and the last thing that you should have to worry about is feeling uncomfortable. Remember, you don’t have to keep seeing a therapist if you feel like they aren’t a good fit; it’s okay to change therapists. Finding the right clinician can make a world of difference in your quality of care and your quality of life. Once you find someone that you trust, you might even start to feel like counseling is a safe haven. Many people leave a therapy session feeling like there’s a weight lifted off their shoulders. Don’t give up on discovering what works for you in therapy. There’s a counselor or therapist out there who understands you and can help you.
How to access mental health counseling
When you’re going through a hard time, it can be especially hard to look for a counselor. Thankfully, there are many options when it comes to therapy. One step you can take is to call your insurance company and ask for mental health counseling services that are covered in your local area. Most primary care doctors or practitioners know of mental health professionals where they can refer you. They’ll be able to put in a referral if you find someone that you’d like to see.
Another thing you can do is to browse the internet to find a therapist. You can search providers in your area, look at their profiles, and select one that meets your therapeutic needs. You can also ask for a suggestion from a friend or family member. There are so many options to choose from for those seeking help from a mental health counselor. Another viable option is online counseling. Online therapy is an excellent way to access mental health counseling your way. You can talk to an online counselor through video chat, a phone call, or a text conversation.
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