According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults are living with a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, with those ages 18-25 having the highest prevalence. However, despite these figures, only half of these people receive the appropriate treatment.
If left untreated, mental health disorders can have a significant impact on emotional, physical, and social health, leading to complications such as physical illnesses, relationship and family problems, and problems at work or school.
The good news is that there are a range of effective, evidence-based treatments that can help if you or a loved one are affected by a mental health condition, including mental health counseling.
What Is a Mental Health Counselor?
A mental health counselor is a licensed professional who works with clients experiencing a wide range of emotional and psychological difficulties. They are trained in using a variety of techniques to help clients bring about effective change and improve their overall well-being.
Mental health counselors treat a wide range of mental health issues that include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic disorder
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorders
- Attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Acute stress disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Conduct disorder
What Qualifications Does a Mental Health Counselor Have?
Although licensing requirements can vary between states, in general, mental health counselors must obtain an accredited master’s degree in counseling and have 2-3 years of supervised counseling experience. Some counselors may then choose to specialize in a particular area of mental health counseling, such as bereavement and loss, addiction, or eating disorders.
In order to help clients effectively, mental health counselors have a variety of skills and training, which include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Being patient, compassionate, tolerant, non-judgmental, and sensitive to client needs
- Having the ability to make people feel relaxed and at ease
- Helping clients understand their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
- Being able to positively challenge people
- The ability to teach clients healthy coping and problem-solving techniques
How a Mental Health Counselor Can Help
Mental health counselors work with clients who may be experiencing issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, stress, addiction, and relationship problems, that are impacting their ability to manage day-to-day life.
Their role is to encourage clients to look at their choices and develop their own way to bring about positive change in their lives, such as by promoting a healthy lifestyle, identifying key stressors, situations, thoughts, behaviors, and social issues that affect wellness and recovery, and developing coping strategies to better manage health and wellbeing.
In order to achieve this, they may use a range of modalities and therapeutic techniques, such as:
- Assessment and diagnostics
- Engaging with clients to set realistic goals and develop a treatment plan
- Psychotherapy interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), psychodynamic therapy, and solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)
- Family, couples, or group therapy
- Psychoeducation regarding disorders
- Interventions to address any co-occurring mental health disorders
- Experiential therapy programs, such as music therapy, art therapy, or play therapy
- Care coordination and referring clients to other services or health professionals when necessary
- Mental health skill-building programs that focus on improving independence and daily living skills
How to Access Support
There are different ways to access support from a mental health counselor. Referral sources may include, but are not limited to, self-referral, through a primary care physician, managed care organizations, the Department of Social Services, and other behavioral health agencies.
Mental Health Counselor in North Chesterfield, VA
If you or a loved one is in need of a mental health counselor, contact EPIC Health Partners. We provide high-quality care for adults and children with mental health disorders.
Our team of qualified and compassionate staff, including trained mental health counselors, provides outstanding individualized behavioral health care to enable individuals to lead a positive and rewarding life. We offer a comprehensive range of mental health services, including psychiatric services, outpatient therapy, mental health skill building, addiction recovery and treatment services (ARTS), comprehensive crisis services, and intensive in-home services.
To learn more about the services we offer, contact EPIC Health Partners today at (434) 835-4601. You can also use our convenient and secure Request an Appointment online form. We look forward to being your partner in total wellness!