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Counseling creates an empowering relationship between you and your therapist. A counselor helps you seek solutions to current issues in your daily life, can help you set goals, and develop a strategy to reach them. In the process, you figure out how to improve your self-esteem, behaviors, and coping skills. Counselors keep their work with you confidential.
People seek therapy for a wide range of reasons. You may want help addressing major life events or changes, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a new marriage, or parenting issues. Counseling can help you work through mental health problems, like depression or anxiety, in a productive and supportive environment. In some cases, you may seek therapy as part of a journey of self-improvement or when you feel stuck or lost.
Counseling can help you understand the problems you’re facing and come up with solutions. Therapists help you explore your own history to understand and change personal behaviors that may cause problems, discover your unique strengths, and learn coping strategies to help you find solutions.
What you should know about counseling:
You may search for a counselor in your area to help solve problems in your life. Maybe you feel isolated or different from those around you or perhaps you’re trying to conquer an addiction. You might find yourself trapped in negative thinking and want to make changes or you may be trying to cope with grief after a loss. Many individuals seek counseling to deal with anxiety and depression.
You may benefit from counseling if you find yourself thinking obsessively about an issue throughout the day or if you sense that you’re losing control over your emotions and how you express them. Therapy can also be helpful if you’re turning to unhealthy behaviors to help you deal with stress. You may want to consider counseling if you find yourself avoiding others for any reason or if an issue is affecting your work and relationships negatively.
Meeting with a counselor can give you the support and the tools you need to deal with the challenges you’re facing.
Many people feel overwhelmed, lonely, or lost when dealing with their emotions, and their friends and family are most likely unable to provide the help needed. Professional counselors are trained to help patients with all sorts of difficulties, including marriage and family problems, addiction issues, and mental health challenges.
Counselors use different approaches depending on your needs. In talk therapy, therapists listen to your concerns and guide you in subtle ways to take control of your life. Behavioral therapists focus on controlling negative thoughts and emotions to help you overcome anxiety, depression, and other self-sabotaging behaviors. Other therapists help you practice specialized techniques to cope with and overcome trauma, addictions, marital and couples problems and conflicts within families. Other mental health professionals like licensed clinical social workers or life coaches can also be great sources of support. You might even decide that online therapy or telehealth via phone call is best for you.
Finding the right therapist is vital to getting the help you need. You want to find a counselor near you who understands you. Asking those who know you well for referrals is one way to make the right connection — while a friend’s therapist may not be right for you, they may have a good suggestion. Your doctor or religious or community leader may have recommendations, or you may have access to a counseling center, perhaps at your school. Local organizations dedicated to helping people such as those that advocate for individuals with eating disorders, domestic abuse survivors, or those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may also be able to suggest specific counselors who are trained in a specific area to address a need you have.
Sometimes, the mental health professional who understands you best is closer to your age while other times, you might long for more mature instruction. Women often prefer female therapists, men may feel more comfortable talking to another man, and those in the LGBTQIA+ community are likely to want a counselor who can be sensitive to issues regarding sexual orientation.
Take the time to research and view profiles of counselors to learn about their credentials and reputation. They should typically have a master’s degree and be licensed to practice in your state. When you confirm that your counselor is qualified, you may also want to check out how long they’ve been practicing to make sure they have the experience to provide the support you need. Many counselors become certified or licensed in specialties, such as grief counseling, marriage and family therapy, and addiction counseling. Looking for someone who specializes in your area of concern can help you find a counselor who’s a good fit and who has the specific tools and techniques to help you cultivate sustainable change in your life.
Fees charged by licensed counselors can vary quite a bit, so finding a therapist whose pricing fit your budget is also important. If you have insurance that covers mental health therapy, ask whether the counselor takes your insurance. Some therapists offer a sliding fee scale based on your ability to pay.
A therapist near you can offer accessibility and supportive mental health care, whether you connect in person or through online therapy. Using the Online Therapy Directory, you can find a therapist online based on location, specialization, gender, faith, and more. Find therapists in your area for an immediate, accessible connection.
Therapists: List your practice on the Online Therapy Directory to connect with clients worldwide seeking therapy.
Counselors help clients understand their issues and emotions, and they guide people through making behavioral changes. They provide the support needed through difficult times and help clients untangle a variety of problems:
Your mental health counseling session will do you the most good if you prepare for it ahead of time. Take some time to think about what you hope to achieve through therapy, and write down any questions you have for your therapist. Focus on how you want to feel and the behaviors you want to change through therapy. If you feel nervous about beginning therapy, remind yourself that everything you tell your mental health professional is confidential and that your counselor’s goal is to help you.
Depending on what you’re facing, your counselor may recommend several treatment types, including behavioral changes that you can make at home. Your treatment may combine talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and medication to help you manage your mood and create change. Therapy options may include the following:
|Talk therapy||Talking through negative feelings or fears can be therapeutic, but friends and family are rarely equipped to help you work through issues. Counselors trained in talk therapy can help you notice patterns of behavior, understand the source of negative emotions, improve your sense of confidence, and take control of the aspects of your life that are troubling you. Talk therapy is of value to those dealing with depression, anxiety, and phobias.|
|Behavioral therapy||The various forms of behavioral therapy all focus on the concept that psychological and emotional problems result from faulty ways of thinking and patterns of behavior. Behavioral therapists help you change your thinking through recognizing the faulty patterns, understanding other people’s behavior, facing fears, and developing confidence and coping skills. Counselors may also use role-playing and relaxation exercises to help establish new behavioral patterns. Behavioral therapy is beneficial for those dealing with OCDs, panic attacks, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, anger management, and addiction, including eating disorders and substance abuse.|
|Medication||Some types of psychological conditions respond well to specific medications. Antidepressant medications help combat depression, eating disorders, and bipolar disorders. Those facing anxiety disorders may benefit from anti-anxiety medications. Those dealing with severe drugproblems may find them easier to deal with when taking medications that reduce cravings. Antipsychotic medication is of value for those with schizophrenia. In almost all cases, better results are achieved when psychological medications are paired with talk or behavioral therapy. Your counselor may recommend a doctor to prescribe any needed medication during your treatment sessions.|
While counseling alone is helpful to many people, practical exercises and lifestyle adaptations may help speed recovery. Depending on your situation, you may find other exercises helpful:
Want to learn more about counseling and how it works? Take a look at the sources used in this guide.
Whether you’re in need of traditional mental health counseling, life coaching, couples therapy, or hypnotherapy, finding therapy near me just got a whole lot easier. From New York to New Hampshire, West Virginia to North Carolina, and throughout the whole United States, there are dedicated mental health professionals ready to help you. Get started now!