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“I am fine.”
More often than not, when people reply to this, they are lying. 20.6% of the adults living in the United States had mental illness in 2019, which is about 51.5 million people. Apart from these 51.5 million people, there are many more people who suffer from mental health issues but won’t admit that they are in dire need of help or in need of counseling. People are afraid to admit it, to say that “I am not fine” because of the societal stigmatization of mental illness.
What is Counseling?
Literally speaking, counseling means providing professional assistance and guidance for resolving psychological or personal problems. Counseling is the process where the client and a counselor (the professional who carries the counseling process) come together to explore the client’s troubles, which may include emotional distress. The next step in counseling is to help the client view their troubles from a different viewpoint or angle and give them a clearer vision. This can empower the client to focus on their emotions, feelings, behaviors, or experiences to facilitate a positive change.
Counseling is not about being judgemental, giving advice, or looking at the client’s troubles from your viewpoint. Guidance and counseling services are not about counselors themselves sorting out their client’s real-life problems or getting emotionally involved with them. Guidance and counseling is a form of therapy that is based on trust. Confidentiality is vital for successful and effective counseling. Professional counselors always explain their policy of confidentiality to their clients. However, by law, the counselor should disclose the information if the client’s life is at risk.
Need of Counseling
While continuing our daily lives, we might feel no need of counseling since there are no signs and symptoms of mental ailment, but counseling isn’t limited to just mental illness. The need for counseling can be a lot more than just stabilizing our mental health.
The following are the reasons why we need counseling:
The maintenance of mental health is very important for our well-being. The need of counseling can also be preventive, that is, to take precautionary measures and make ourselves susceptible to healthily coping with future stresses.
2. Personal Development
Counseling can help an individual grow into a better version of themselves. It can help a person to realize their full potential and move towards attaining self-actualization. Individuals are in the need of counseling when they want to develop personal as well as professional skills or enhance the already existing ones. One could also develop traits they wish to have through counseling.
3. Understanding the Ancestry
To better understand ourselves, we often want to know how, why, and what shaped our behavior and responses. Counseling helps us understand where we come from and that helps us understand our family and history and gives a better insight into who we are right now.
4. Breaking Old Patterns
The need for counseling is for us to understand our old and toxic patterns of behavior. To break old patterns of behavior, one needs to go through what went wrong and think of an alternative reaction or possibly avoid a similar pattern of behavior. Knowing past mistakes can help you deal with future ones better, and counseling provides us with it.
5. Ditching Negative Routines
Counseling is much needed for individuals to ditch or eliminate any negative routines or bad habits like smoking, drinking, or even drug use. We all have hard-to-leave habits, and counseling helps us gain resilience over them and gives us the strength to let go of those habits.
Life is full of changes and adjusting to all of the changes is a big thing. The need of counseling here is to help people adjust and adapt to these life changes and deal with the distressing emotions associated with these changes. Be it a change of workplace, school, or city, if they can’t adjust to the change, they need counseling.
7. Deal with Trauma
Counseling is an effective way to deal with any trauma. Medical treatments are also there to help one cope with trauma, but counseling is equally effective. Sometimes people get used to living with the impact of trauma and don’t even recognize that they need counseling. Counseling can help people develop a healthy ‘normal’ post-trauma and effectively deal with the impacts of the traumatic event.
8. Discover Yourself
One can gain information about their capabilities, limitations, interests, strengths, and weaknesses by taking counseling sessions. One can get to know themselves better with the help of counseling.
9. Clear Indecisiveness
When an individual is stuck at a crossroads between their values and beliefs and the current situation and can not make up their mind about what to do, they always have counseling at their rescue, and counseling can help a person clear the indecisiveness and come to a decision when stuck with a difficult question that life throws at them.
10. Trying Something New
Life is all about experiences, and well-taking counseling could be a new experience. Experiencing counseling will help you deal with the effects of past, and present problems and prepare you to cope with the future problem better, so it is a win-win situation. If a person hasn’t ever talked about their mental health to anyone, counseling could be a very helpful and enriching experience for them.
Types of Counseling
1. Marriage and Family Counseling
Client is often people who face trouble in their marriage or familial relations and can’t cope with it. Marriage counseling is for couples either before or after the marriage. The counselor helps the clients either work together and solve a specific problem or, in general, make the relationship toxic-free. Family counseling can be for any of the family members, like between parents and children. The counselor here helps the two have a better understanding of each other’s viewpoint and removes conflict.
2. Individual Counseling
This counseling involves a client and a trained psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist, who helps the client either solve or achieve certain goals. It is mainly the process of self-discovery and conquering your issues under the guidance of mental health professionals. This type of counseling is helpful for individuals to let out their feelings without the fear of being judged in an environment that is safe.
3. Career Counseling
Career counseling is for students trying to decide which course they should pursue and for already working adults. Career counselors assess your strengths, interests, and capabilities and then give you relevant professional advice regarding your careers. Generally, career counseling is taken by high school students, but it is also for working professionals willing to make a switch in their careers.
4. Organizational Counseling
The need of counseling is not limited to schools; it is also very much important in organizations. Organizational counseling helps the employer and employees deal with work stress and reduces workplace conflicts amongst co-workers or between the employee and managerial staff. It also helps in reducing absenteeism and increasing the productivity and efficiency of employees.
5. Mental Health Counseling
Mental illness or degrading mental health conditions have become very common these days. The rising awareness is enabling people to recognize the symptoms and has also increased the need of counseling. Mental health counselors help individuals deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar disorder, and many others. This counseling helps individuals cope with these illnesses and also the impact it has on their lives.
6. Substance Abuse Counseling
Substance abuse counseling involves treating and supporting people to break free from their alcoholism or drug addiction. It helps people reach the root of it and discuss the cause of their addiction. This type of counseling provides one with coping strategies and practicing skills to positively impact their lives and help them recover from this addiction.
7. Rehabilitation Counseling
This type of counseling mainly helps people with physical and emotional disabilities. The rehabilitation counselor teaches their clients ways to earn income and live life independently. The counselor evaluates the strengths and limitations of the client and then guides them towards leading an independent life.
8. Directive and Non-Directive Counseling
Directive counseling involves the counselor giving direct instructions to the clients. The counselor here directs the client to certain things. Under non-directive counseling, the counselor observes the client’s behavior, actions, and attitude instead of giving direct instructions. If the client does something wrong, the counselor comes to their rescue and helps them realize where they were wrong.
The above mentioned are just a few types of counseling. There are many other types of counseling. With the increasing need of counseling and the advancement of technology, we now, along with face-to-face counseling, can also have online counseling sessions. Online counseling has the perks of being accessible, convenient, and anonymous. Though all types of counseling are equally important, their basic aim is to help one lead a healthier and happier life.