The demand for counselors is soaring with the population rising and an increase in mental health issues. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are common and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. Statistics show that one in every five adults in the US has a mental health problem, and only half of these individuals receive treatment. This is where counselors come in. These professionals offer vital assistance and insight to people dealing with mental health conditions.
Besides treating specific diseases, counselors play a vital role in improving people’s wellbeing and preventing the development of mental health issues. For those wondering how much does a counselor make and what are their roles, Walsh University offers master’s degree in counseling programs that sets counselors up for a successful and high-paying career.
These programs are 100% online, with no physical attendance required, meaning students can complete coursework without leaving home. This article will also discuss mental health conditions, what roles counselors play in alleviating these conditions, and how much they earn.
What do counselors do?
Counselors have several responsibilities that contribute to improving people’s mental health.
They help – Counselors work with individuals who are struggling with conditions such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self-image concerns, and other mental health conditions, to help them promote behavior change and attain optimal mental health.
They consult – Sometimes counselors consult alongside psychologists and psychiatrists by providing assessment, therapeutic assistance, and sometimes prescribing medications to clients. They provide treatment and support to their clients to help them manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
They advise – They provide mental health guidance to individuals, groups, couples, and families dealing with mental health issues, based on their expertise and knowledge. Counselors also lead individuals battling mental health issues into a fulfilling life, where they understand their conditions and are on the road to improvement.
They guide – These professionals encourage clients, help them strengthen their self-esteem, define their goals, gain insights, and plan their next course of action for improving their mental health.
They facilitate – Counselors provide a non-judgmental, supportive, and safe space where individuals can understand their emotions, think back on their past choices, and take steps to improve.
Eight career opportunities for counselors
Whether a counselor is planning to specialize, or just searching for career opportunities in the counseling niche, these are eight counseling roles they can consider.
1. Grief counselors
Grief counselors work with individuals or families that are experiencing loss-related issues. These individuals or families may be trying to get through losing a loved one or can’t regain control after their loss. Counselors help them acknowledge the five stages of grief and guide them through these stages. They may also help them understand the personal and emotional effects of bereavement, divorce, or even injury. Grief counselors use several mechanisms, like group therapy, to help their clients express their feelings and process their experiences.
2. Career counselors
Career counselors help clients make informed career decisions by evaluating their previous work experience, guiding them on their resume, and suggesting potential job opportunities. Whether clients are unemployed or looking to take another career path, career counselors help them understand and hone their skills, preparing them to make positive career decisions.
Career counselors primarily advise based on the client’s preferences, interests, and abilities. They help clients choose the right career by guiding them on what training and education are necessary for a new career. They may also assist them in applying for jobs.
3. Substance abuse counselors
Substance abuse counselors help patients experiencing drug and alcohol-related challenges, or those who are affected directly by another’s substance abuse. These counselors guide individuals suffering from drug abuse on ways to groom their behavior, to help them recover from addiction and achieve personal wellness. They also monitor their patient’s progress and usually encourage them to join group counseling. Counselors in this niche provide ample assistance during and after the recovery process. This assistance goes a long way in helping these individuals get their lives back on track.
4. Mental health counselors
Mental health counselors help people manage general mental illness. These professionals are often versatile, and may counsel a child, an adult, or even another professional. Mental health counselors receive training to help people understand how they think and feel, and how these factors influence their lives and others around them. The ability to help individuals realize their fears is what makes these professionals stand out.
Mental health counselors encourage their clients to talk about their emotions and experiences, creating a wellness model to examine the potential causes of their mental illness. Next, they will generate treatment plans, monitor their progress rate, and provide them with therapeutic processes that will help them cope with future emotional stress.
5. Marriage and family counselors
Marriage and family counselors work with parents, couples, children, and extended family members to address and treat the emotional and mental challenges they are facing. They evaluate each member of the family to determine how they influence each other’s mental health. The counselor helps them resolve their conflicts and encourages them to strengthen their communication skills. They may also provide couples or families with new strategies or create goals to work toward, to help their healing process.
6. School counselors
School counselors, or guidance counselors, work in an academic setting, where they provide support to students and teachers. These counselors help students manage their educational and social life to improve poor educational performance and encourage a healthy social life.
School counselors help students foster healthy habits, guide and support them when they are battling with low self-esteem and peer pressure, and also help them plan their future careers. Often, these professionals may fill in as mediators in solving conflicts between students and teachers.
A psychologist is a qualified practitioner who specializes in assisting people in overcoming emotional and psychological challenges. The primary aim of a psychologist is to recognize the moods and behaviors of individual clients to help them live happy and satisfying lives. Psychologists observe, listen to, and examine their clients to understand their needs.
A counseling psychologist often collaborates with other types of mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists or therapists, to provide tailored care. They also collaborate with clients to determine the therapy that would best meet their objectives and needs. They are trained to work with a wide range of disorders, including depression, substance misuse, and anxiety. These professionals mostly work in hospitals, mental health facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
8. Behavioral therapists
A behavioral therapist, or a behavioral disorder counselor, is a mental health professional that specializes in behavior modification, assisting clients in overcoming undesired behaviors and strengthening good ones. Behavioral therapists work with clients who are facing difficulties due to a mental disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
They assess behavioral disorders, determine patient needs, and develop treatment programs such as aversion therapy and positive reinforcement to help clients manage their actions outside the office. They also keep track of their client’s progress. Depending on the disorder and severity, behavioral therapists employ several strategies to assist clients. Behavioral therapists may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or private offices.
Due to the growing need for mental health services and the growing understanding of the importance of mental wellbeing, now is an excellent moment to enter the counseling profession. The demand for competent counselors will increase as public awareness of mental health issues grows.
If an individual has a desire to help others, they can consider pursuing a meaningful profession in counseling to benefit individuals, families, and communities while also having a potentially financially lucrative career.