Five Types Of Counselors, And How To Find The Right One For You
Whether you're living with chronic stress, mental illness, emotional concerns, or you just need someone to talk to, a counselor can help help you untangle your thoughts, relieve your worries, and learn helpful coping skills. Most people would benefit at one time or another in their lives from speaking with a counselor.
When searching for a therapist, you may be overwhelmed when it comes to the different types of available counseling. There are many available, and it's important to research which ones are beneficial to your needs to find the right fit.
The following are the most common types of counselors available to help with various mental and behavioral health conditions. This list can help you understand these terms to choose the counselor that best suits your individual needs.
A clinical psychologist is a type of therapist with extensive training in assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental and behavioral illnesses. Clinical psychologists utilize research-backed therapy techniques, most commonly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to treat patients with many conditions. These include depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD, trauma, and substance use disorders.
A clinical psychologist will usually schedule an initial intake visit to assess the patient's mental and emotional state. This process, which involves an interview, a recounting of the patient's relevant history, and possible testing, will allow the psychologist to determine if your symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria for any conditions.
Psychologists are usually required to have a doctorate to practice. Since they do not hold a medical doctorate, they cannot prescribe medication.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves identifying and altering negative thinking patterns and replacing unhelpful coping behaviors with more effective ones. The individual learns how to mindfully recognize their thinking distortions and the impact they have on how they feel. Then, the client is taught how to replace their negative thinking with positive, empowering statements. CBT may also involve the teaching of problem-solving skills to help you overcome difficulties you may encounter.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Clinical social workers can be found in many settings, performing both individual and group counseling. Clinical social work is a specialized type of social work focused on providing therapy for mental illnesses and behavioral issues. Clinical social workers hold a master's or doctorate in social work and are licensed by the state they operate to provide services.
CSWs analyze an individual's home and family life and their economic status and other factors to determine a clear picture of their situation. CSWs employ what is known as a "strengths-based approach," which combines these factors and an overview of the person's individual traits to create a specialized treatment plan.
What Is A Strengths-Based Approach in Counseling?
Strengths-based therapy is a positivity-focused therapy that concentrates on identifying a person's unique strengths and abilities. The therapist focuses on developing these strengths and improving the individual's capabilities and self-confidence. Many people living with mental health issues, low self-esteem, and negative thinking amplify their perceived weaknesses and flaws. This can keep an individual stuck in negative behavioral patterns.
Strengths-based counseling can work for many people to overcome their self-limiting beliefs and improve their outlook. By shifting the focus to a person's strengths instead of their weaknesses, they gain a sense of control and agency.
Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist (LMFT)
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) refers to psychotherapy focused on couples and families' internal dynamics. Treatment can involve both individual therapies for each affected family and couple or group counseling where all parties are present.
LMFTs deal with family and partner conflicts and treat a wide range of complex issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance use, and domestic violence (call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE for help anytime). Sessions usually run for several months and are focused on establishing and reaching certain goals to improve the relationship between all parties.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
Depending on the state, operating as a mental health counselor may require a bachelor's degree or master's degree in psychology. LMHCs work with the patient to establish therapy goals and ways to achieve them. This type of counseling may be more flexible and client-driven than other forms. The focus of therapy sessions is on establishing the patient's life problems and finding concrete, effective solutions.
Licensed professional counselors (LPC) operate much the same way as LMHCs. The two terms are often interchangeable, without significant differences.
A psychiatrist is a type of medical doctor capable of diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide scope of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They must hold either a medical doctorate (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Psychiatrists have experience and training to identify and treat many conditions, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addiction, and complex comorbid conditions.
Since they are medical doctors, psychiatrists are the only type of counselor on the list that can prescribe medications. They may occasionally order lab tests for various reasons. Sometimes they may also offer other treatments, depending on your condition, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Biofeedback.
In many practices, you may see a psychiatrist for your initial evaluation and diagnosis, as well as for the prescription of any medications, but then see another type of counselor for your ongoing therapy visits.
How To Find The Right Counselor
Connecting with the right counselor can take some trial and error, which has the potential to be discouraging. Don't be put off if it takes a while to find the right therapist. First, if you have insurance, inquire about the scope of your mental health coverage.
Most insurance plans will only cover certain providers and a set number of sessions in a calendar year. Many might want regular a yearly or bi-yearly assessment with a psychiatrist if you're prescribed psychiatric medications.
You'll usually start by seeing your therapist at least once a week. They should establish treatment goals from the outset and track your progress toward those goals during your therapy. You want to be able to speak openly with your therapist and feel understood and listened to.
You may feel nervous or unsure during your first few counseling sessions, especially if you've never participated in before. It can be hard to open up to someone you don't know about deeply personal issues. Stick with it. As you begin to trust your therapist and get accustomed to the process, you'll become more comfortable speaking about your issues.
It's not uncommon to not click with the first counselor that you see. Maybe they follow a different school of psychotherapy than you agree with or focus on your life areas that you don't find helpful. Always remember that counseling is for your benefit. If you don't feel comfortable with the first therapist you speak to, don't hesitate to explore your options. It may take a few tries to find the therapist that's right for you.
How To Find A Counselor Online
For some people, including busy professionals, stay-at-home parents, and full-time students, it can be difficult to fit in regular therapy appointments as it conflicts with their schedule. Some people may have difficulty with transportation to and from appointments. Those with disabilities may face additional barriers, as well.
It can be hard to muster the motivation to seek counseling when you're struggling with a mental illness, anxiety disorder, or ongoing stress. The right therapist can help you about your concerns so don't give up; instead, consider choosing online therapy.
The Benefits Of Online Therapy
Online therapy can take several different forms, depending on your preferences. These include one-on-one video therapy and chat therapy, where you exchange messages back and forth with your therapist. With online therapy, you are connected with a counselor that you can message at any time, building a rapport that allows you to feel supported and understood.
From communication difficulties to infidelity to divorce, many relationship issues can harm your mental and emotional health. In these difficult times, connecting with a counselor can help. Regain offers professional, affordable online therapy for individuals and couples. We can connect you with a qualified counselor who is experienced and knowledgeable in your particular areas of concern.
Finding a mental health professional who specializes in concerns like the ones you have can be a great way to get help quickly and effectively. Knowing the differences and the options available to you can make this process easier, as can modern options like online therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the different types of counselors?
Professional counselors assist and guide their clients towards the solution of their problems. From an individual to a large group, counselors help their clients through their difficulties, advising them on a journey towards enlightenment and recovery.
There are many open options in counseling careers, and to be a licensed counselor, they must also have counseling degrees before they can work with others.
Counselors work extensive, and the range under this field can vary since a professional counselor can specialize in many different areas like the following:
- Mental Health Counselor
Among the available counseling careers, this is crucial since our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, especially when we are still in our developmental stage.
A mental health counselor is to help their client with their cognitive, behavioral, and emotional issues. They can work with individuals, families, or other groups as long as it relates to mental health issues.
Counseling careers like this are for those who have a passion for helping others. They specialize in issues relating to emotions, stress, experiences, and many more.
Those who aspire to be mental health counselors must have social work, psychology, sociology, or counseling degrees. Also, they must pass a state-recognized exam, and they must also complete continuing education courses. But remember, being a licensed professional counselor varies by state.
- Marriage and Family Counselor
A licensed professional counselor offers treatment or guidance to individuals and families, but Marriage and Family therapists focus more on families whose problems are relationship-based.
In every relationship, it is inevitable to come face-to-face with obstacles and disagreements. However, just because there are hardships, a happy and content relationship is still possible if we put more effort into it.
Through family therapy or family counseling, it can improve the communication between families, and not just that; types of counseling like this can help figure out and resolve conflicts between different relationships.
Family therapy or family counseling is a type of psychological counseling. In these types of counseling, their goal is to help them identify how a specific behavior affects the other.
Improved communication, solving family problems, understanding and handling family situations, and creating a better home environment is something family counseling can do.
Marriage and family counselors are counseling careers that need their counselors to be patient and practical relationship builders.
The biggest difference between marriage therapy and family counseling or family therapy is the people involved.
Marriage counseling is more focused on couples, while in family therapy, it may only involve a parent and their child, and even the entire household.
- School Counselor
To assist all students, all the way from elementary school to college, school counselors act as advocates for the students’ well-being. Today’s school counselors are important part of the education system since they help students in many ways.
School counseling is not just about the students’ grades; it’s also about their well-being and social or emotional development. They guide them through career choices, academic-related topics, emotional issues, and more.
A school counselor, or guidance counselor, has a significant role in accountability. The counselors’ work is to analyze the educational techniques’ effectiveness and maximize their value to students.
Like most counseling careers, those who desire to be a school counselor need to have counseling degrees in school counseling or educational psychology.
- Health counselors
Health counseling is when counselors help individuals with their unhealthy behaviors. These health counselors will motivate their clients towards any short-term or long-term goals.
Counseling careers like this are essential to solve many health problems. It can also be done face-to-face or through third parties by email.
To be a health counselor, a person must also hold counseling degrees in either behavioral, social science, or the psychology field. Again, to do counselors’ work, you need to earn a master’s degree in mental health counseling, complete graduate and postgraduate internship experience, and pass any required counseling exams for licensure.
What are the three types of counseling?
There are three main types of counseling, directive counseling, non-directive counseling, and eclectic counseling.
One of the three types of counseling is directive or prescriptive counseling. This counseling type is based on the assumption that the client cannot solve their problems for lack of information. It gives more importance to the intellectual aspect than the emotional aspects.
Next, we have non-directive counseling, which is also known as permissive counseling; This is for counseling careers that are more client-centered. The counselor needs to create an atmosphere in which their clients can work out their problems.
Eclectic counseling is where neither the counselor nor client is centered; instead, it is both. Counseling careers that need this type of counseling needs to be neither too active nor too passive.
Eclectic counseling is a very flexible type of counseling, and the freedom of choice and expression is open to both the counselor and the client.
What type of counselor gets paid the most?
Out of all the counseling careers available, ranging from health counselors and school counseling, the counselor that gets paid the most is a school counselor. If you’re interested or even passionate about helping students reach their full potential, the median salary is $53,610 per year.
Remember that to be a school counselor —out of all the counseling degrees— you must take a Master’s in school counseling.
What’s the difference between a social worker and a counselor?
Comparing counselors work to social work, professional counselors focus more on helping an individual or group with a specific set of needs. That’s why we have different types of counseling, like family counseling, mental health counseling, and more.
In contrast to this, social work involves a broader range of services, like providing therapy or assisting families with their financial needs.
What are the different types of counseling clients?
In counseling careers, there will be all types of clients that you’ll experience.
A different type of client is Insurance Clients. In this, the client may come for treatment, or lawyers for medico-legal assessment reports will refer them.
Different types of counseling clients are those who come in groups.
Always remember that counselors or therapists are not only for those who have a mental illness; anyone can seek help or guidance, whether it may be personal or not.
How do I choose the right counselor?
What are the 3 types of counselor?
What's the difference between a counselor and a therapist?
What are 2 types of counseling?
What are the 6 methods of counseling?
What is the most common type of counseling?
What are the different counseling services?
Do I need counselling or therapy?
What do mental health counselors do?
Do counselors roles vary?
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