Mental Health Counseling: How It Works and What Are the Benefits

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Mental health counseling or psychotherapy is something that we all wonder about. It is tricky for one to wrap their head around the concept unless they have experienced it first-hand.

It is fairly common for individuals to associate psychotherapy or counseling with a proverbial couch with the patient lying on the top and spilling their guts while the therapist quickly jots down notes on a notepad.

This process is referred to as psychoanalysis, and it is no longer a widely practiced technique in the twenty-first century. If this technique is outdated, how do the best clinical mental health counseling programs actually work?

How Does Mental Health Counseling Works?

Mental health counseling involves a purposeful and formal association between a mental health professional and their client. It is also sometimes referred to as clinical mental health counseling – not because it is dispassionate and cold but because it is based on thorough research practices techniques that are known to be effective.

During a counseling session, the mental health professional works with the client to uncover problems and establish the mindset and skills required to overcome obstacles and live a life of emotional stability and psychological well being.

The length of a counseling session varies depending on the client and the extent of their psychological distress or mental condition. It can continue on for a few weeks, a few months, and in some cases, extend to years of occasional counseling sessions.

Best Clinical Health Counseling Programs Approaches

Mental health counselors have a wide assortment of approaches to use when treating their patients. The specific approach used depends on both the distinctive characteristics of an individual client and the professional preference of the counselor.

Each counseling approach has a specific aim. These methodologies can emphasize an individual’s background, thoughts, behaviors, emotions, or a blend of all these elements. Inside each category, there are distinctive theoretical techniques.

Below is a list of some of the most common therapeutic approaches practiced in clinical mental health counseling.

Theories that focus on the client’s background:

  • Psychoanalysis (Freudian technique)
  • Individual/Adlerian psychology
  • Jungian analytical psychology

Emotion-based approaches:

  • Existential psychology
  • Individual-centered/Rogerian psychology
  • Gestalt therapy

Theories that empathize on thoughts:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Rational-emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)

Techniques that focus on behaviors:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Solution-focused brief therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

In most cases, a mental health professional would use a combination of different approaches to cater to the specific needs of their client. Some of the approaches that have been commonly used as a single technique include CBT, DBT, and solution-focused brief therapy.

Benefits of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counseling helps many individuals – around 80% of people receiving counseling reap its benefits. When people participate in mental health counseling, they usually gain:

  • Hope
  • Individual empowerment
  • Self-acceptance
  • Personal insight
  • Incapacitating the demoralization caused by social stigma
  • Prevention of future mental disorders
  • Life skills
  • Overall wellness

Mental health counseling is life-saving, and it can substantially improve people’s quality of life. Reaching out for professional mental health assistance is an indication of tremendous strength and courage as it is a crucial step in taking control of psychological health and designing a life that you deserve – a life worth living.

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