What is the difference between counseling and mental health counseling?

The term counselor is used to broadly refer to a professional trained in the fields of psychology, counseling, social work, or a variety of fields of medicine, such as nursing. Mental health counselors, specifically, are those professionals who work in a mental health capacity. Clinical mental health counseling and counseling psychology are two similar graduate programs with subtle differences. When deciding between the two programs, it is the nuances, the development models and the medical models that make the difference.

Either way, you'll find yourself in a specialty where helping others is paramount and your skill set is put into practice to improve society. Although the terms counseling and therapy are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and psychological counseling. Counseling focuses on specific issues and is designed to help a person address a particular problem, such as addiction or stress management. The focus may be on solving problems or learning specific techniques to address or avoid problem areas.

Counseling is also often shorter term than therapy. There is a lot of overlap between the two fields, but there are also differences. For example, counselors tend to work with life and short-term challenges, while therapists are more likely to treat mental health conditions and work on an ongoing basis. Counseling involves working with a mental health counselor or clinical mental health counselor on a specific topic for a limited period of time.

If you still don't feel comfortable after two or three visits, let your mental health professional know and explain why you feel that way. Most master's degrees in the field of mental health take two to three years to complete, combining learning and practical experience. A psychiatrist is trained to differentiate mental health problems from other underlying medical conditions that could present with psychiatric symptoms. The most common mental health licensing exams are administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), the Association of Social Work Boards, the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, and the Association of State and Provincial Psychological Boards.

There are mental health counselors, social workers, nurse practitioners, and other people who deal with mental health issues. Licensed psychologists are qualified to provide counseling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment for mental disorders. Therapy, also called psychotherapy or talk therapy, is a conversation-based service provided by a mental health professional to evaluate, diagnose and treat patterns related to maladaptive thinking, behaviors and emotions. When choosing a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional, it's important to consider your compatibility with the provider and your personality or way of practicing.

Because clinical mental health counseling is a terminal degree, those seeking this program tend to be interested in direct clinical experience after the master's degree. For example, if you were suffering from depression, you and your mental health therapist can explore how depression affects your daily life and how to develop better coping strategies so you can feel better. Therapists can support life's challenges and counselors can work with people who have mental health problems. Master-level counselors, whether from counseling programs or clinical mental health counseling, can have a bright future with growth that surpasses other occupations.

Basically, you can call it whatever you want, because a lot of mental health professionals sure do. Your doctor will check for physical problems that may be causing your symptoms and help you decide what type of mental health professional and what type of therapy might be best for you. If that's the case, the psychiatrist can provide psychotherapy or the psychiatrist can refer you to a counselor or other type of mental health professional. .


Steve Darity
Steve Darity

Certified food scholar. General coffee fan. Unapologetic twitter fan. Amateur coffeeaholic. General web nerd.

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