According to Statista, the number of adults who received mental health treatment or counseling rose in most years between 2002 and 2020, with 41.4 million seeking this kind of help in 2020. So, what are the benefits? Read on to learn some of the many benefits that people gain from accessing this method of help.
The chance to share without judgment
Many people feel pressured to conform to their social groups or to fit in with expectations from friends and family. They’re told not to think a certain way or that it’s wrong to say something on a specific topic. Instead, they bottled up their thoughts and feelings. Yet this doesn’t change how they feel or alter any of their thoughts. When they experience challenges or mental health issues that go against these expectations, they are less likely to share or seek help from those closest to them. If they continue their daily lives as if everything is okay, this can only worsen the problem.
If you choose to pursue counseling as a career, you will be expected to listen to and help clients without passing judgment. Often, they will choose to talk to a counselor to experience the benefit of sharing their problems with someone without the risk of losing friends or family, or being judged.
You can learn everything you need to prepare for this career by gaining an online degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Walsh University offers the flexibility of online learning, gives help to find internships locally, and provides the support to pass your NCE on the first attempt.
Help dealing with trauma or grief
Going through experiences such as grief or trauma can be isolating and increase the associated problems. The person experiencing this can have it take over their life, from affecting their job and relationships to no longer having the time or energy to focus on smaller tasks such as looking after themselves, their families or their homes. Some of this can contribute to poor physical health.
Counseling can benefit people grieving or trying to overcome traumatic events, by allowing them the space to talk openly. Friends and family can feel uncomfortable talking about these topics. Although they may want to help, they can struggle to know the right thing to say.
If you graduate and become a counselor, one of the things you will learn is how to read people and find the words to reach them in a difficult time. Sometimes your client may just need a sounding board, but other times they need guidance on how to move on and overcome what they are going through. Everyone is different and something that works for one person may not work for others in the same way.
Resolving family or marriage problems
Another benefit of counseling is having the time and space to resolve family disputes and marriage problems. When people try to resolve these without help, it leads to arguments and can make things worse.
Each person will have their own points that they want to make. While it’s important for the other person or people involved to understand their point of view, it’s also important for all parties to listen to each other and respond to what has been said.
It would be your job to mediate between families or couples whose relationship has broken down. Sometimes they will see you separately, but often it can be beneficial for them to visit you together. This gives you a chance to counsel them through their issues and ensure that everyone gets to speak and is listened to in return. Many families or couples have successfully worked through their issues this way.
Finding peace or self-acceptance
Finding peace may sound like something that only religious people or those with New Age beliefs would try to achieve. However, it can be more about self-acceptance and becoming comfortable with who you are. This is something that everyone can benefit from. People often struggle with different parts of their life. Some may have issues with their body, while others are unhappy with how their life has turned out. They may still regret past mistakes that they think are to blame for this. This can be aggravated if people close to them constantly bring up the things, they are not happy with. It makes it more difficult for them to delve deeper because of constantly defending themselves, despite agreeing with the person saying those things. It’s our natural reaction to become defensive when confronted in this manner.
Talking openly to someone who won’t cast blame and is distanced enough from them to listen without feeling emotionally connected to the situation, can help them accept the past. This can lead to them accepting themselves and making realistic changes to ensure a better future.
Having someone listen
Having someone listen can be helpful. When we talk to our friends and family, they might think that they’re helping when they share their own experiences that they believe are like ours or if they make suggestions. These are likely to be based on their own situation and aren’t always helpful if applied to someone else’s circumstances.
Talking to a counselor gives people a chance to sift through everything that is on their minds. The counselor won’t respond by sharing their own experiences, though this understanding could indirectly assist them with helping the client. Instead, they will gently lead the client toward understanding themselves and finding the right solution for them.
Counseling can also help people to overcome obstacles. Sometimes they may be unaware that their own thoughts and actions are preventing them from achieving their goals. You would help them benefit by allowing them to talk and realize their self-imposed obstacles.
Rather than putting the blame onto them, you would ask questions about what is preventing them from reaching their goals and eventually help them to overcome this, whether self-imposed or not.
With obstacles outside of their control, you would guide them toward other options or ways of succeeding. Because you’re not a friend or family member, you would be distanced enough to see solutions that they may not have thought of, but without being emotionally invested in the same way that a loved one would be.
Dealing with phobias
Clients can also benefit from counseling to overcome phobias that are restricting certain parts of their life.
For example, in extreme circumstances, someone might be afraid of social situations. This could reduce how often they leave the house or affect their ability to work. Helping them to manage this could significantly improve their life. They may have always wanted to pursue a specific career but have been unable to because of the uncertainty involved over whether they will be able to leave the house every day.
There are several therapies you can use or suggest for people with this type of phobia. One is exposure therapy, which involves exposing the client gradually to their phobia. For example, you could suggest that they spend some time in the garden, perhaps doing some gardening, if this makes them feel more comfortable. Eventually, this might progress to walking to the end of their driveway to check the mailbox. You would work with your client to create slightly bigger steps for them to overcome until they can do bigger tasks such as visiting a friend or traveling to work.
Finding healthier ways to cope
One more benefit of counseling is finding healthier ways to cope with the challenges that people face.
We all have unexpected difficulties from time to time, but some people have addictive personalities, and this can have a negative impact on how they handle these challenges. Some might turn to drink or drugs, while others may find temporary comfort in overeating, or may develop other eating disorders that affect their health.
Friends and family may be well-meaning when they suggest alternatives such as diet and exercise. Of course, these can be helpful for a variety of reasons, but on their own, they don’t address or solve the root cause of the problem.
Counseling provides an environment for the client to delve deeper into the causes and triggers, and how these can be prevented and overcome without resorting to unhealthy addictions.
As you can see, counseling has significant and multiple benefits, which helps to explain why so many Americans use this to help them in their daily lives. If you choose a career helping people in this way, you will see the rewards every time you get through to someone who has sought your help but previously struggled to overcome their problems.