What Is the Role of a Mental Health Counselor?

Mental Health Counselor


Many individuals are dealing with mental health issues. In fact, 26% of U.S. people are diagnosed with a mental health illness each year, making disorders like anxiety and depression common. Even moderate mental illness may have an effect on a person’s quality of life, emphasizing the crucial need of receiving adequate treatment and support. A mental health counselor can assist you in this situation.

A mental health counselor evaluates and treats mental and emotional health problems, interpersonal problems, and life obstacles. Counselors work with patients to make significant behavior changes using a variety of therapeutic techniques. They also provide coping skills for dealing with life’s difficulties.

“Counselors can provide support and guidance while also assisting in the identification of triggers, coping with negative emotions, and reducing symptoms in order to improve the individual’s quality of life,” says Aaron Sternlicht, a licensed mental health counselor in New York and co-founder of Family Addiction Specialist.

Counselors often specialize in certain areas. They are generally trained to assist persons with:

  • Anxiety \sDepression
  • Abuse of substances
  • Sexual impotence
  • Eating problems
  • Personality flaws
  • Dementia
  • Adjustment disorders caused by a big life event, such as divorce or the birth of a child

Persistent and repeated symptoms may indicate that it is time to seek expert assistance. If you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms for two weeks or longer, consider seeking help from a mental health counsellor:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of enthusiasm for hobbies or activities
  • Inability to continue with everyday activities
  • Suicidal/self-harm thoughts

Requirements for Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counsellors must finish a master’s degree in counselling, which normally takes two years, before they may practise in their state. Students participate in supervised fieldwork as part of this curriculum.

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Therapist vs. Mental Health Counselor

Because they perform therapy, a variety of professions, including social workers, counsellors, psychologists, and marriage and family therapists, may still be labeled therapists at the state-licensed level.

However, although the terms mental health counselling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there are significant distinctions, according to Sternlicht.

A counsellor will be licenced as an L.M.H.C. (licenced mental health counsellor), L.C.S.W. (licenced clinical social worker), or L.P.C. (licenced professional counsellor) (licenced professional counselor). In contrast, a therapist will be given an L.M.F.T. (licensed marriage and family therapist).

“Generally, mental health treatment is shorter term and focused on resolving a particular, current issue,” he explains. A therapist, on the other hand, may utilise their sessions to investigate what Sternlicht refers to as “deeper underlying beliefs, emotions, and actions generated by unconscious difficulties and conflicts.”

Psychologist vs. Mental Health Counselor

Both mental health counsellors and psychologists must have a master’s degree and be licenced in their respective states to practise. Furthermore, psychologists often pursue a PhD in psychology.

While there is some overlap between the two positions, psychologists are more likely to treat with severe mental diseases and behavioural issues. A counsellor is typically concerned with overall wellbeing and talk therapy. Psychologists may be more concerned with scientifically assessing a client and resolving particular issues.

Psychiatrist vs. Mental Health Counselor

A mental health counsellor leads clients via different kinds of talk therapy to recovery. Patients must seek treatment from a qualified psychiatrist in order to get prescriptions for drugs to supplement therapy. Psychiatrists are trained to analyse and diagnose mental health illnesses so that they may prescribe appropriate medication and follow clients through therapy.

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Mental Health Disorder StatisticsJohn Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 04/15/2021.