Mental health counselors have challenging careers that are crucial to the well-being of their communities. When an individual graduates with a degree in mental health counseling, they will usually do some research on the different areas of this dynamic field. With the increase in mental health issues associated with the social isolation and emotional turmoil caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic spiral, these highly educated individuals are needed now more than ever.
With news stories about people experiencing mental health crises becoming violent or getting into fatal altercations with law enforcement, it is no wonder that this area is getting more attention from policymakers. The traditional approach to emergency calls involving emotionally unstable people is being replaced by a new generation of counselors who accompany police on these calls and use their expertise to help law enforcement treat these individuals with care. These mental health professionals can venture out into different career paths depending on where their interests take them.
Some career options for mental health counseling graduates include social workers, geriatric workers, substance abuse counselors, and other challenging and fulfilling career paths.
There are a variety of settings where social workers can work with clients and offer support and resources. Some of these settings include hospitals, nonprofit organizations, mental health clinics, schools, government agencies, settlement houses, community organizations, and private practice.
Social workers and clinical social workers have different roles in that they first help clients access counseling services, while the second provides counseling in addition to providing available resources for counseling. The clinical social worker has additional training and licensure to treat clients suffering from mental health issues.
Social workers who work in hospitals can arrange support groups for patients as well as advocate for patients and their families if they are in need of additional resources. Social workers in hospitals can also help with dealing with insurance for mental health counseling and provide emotional support to patients and their families. Often, the social worker in a hospital will spend time educating patients and family members about their specific mental health issues, especially if the patient is newly diagnosed and needs to understand what support they will require.
Nonprofit organizations often use the services of social workers to help with client settlement in subsidized housing or homeless shelters. A large percentage of homeless people show signs of mental health issues, and it is important that mental health professionals, such as social workers, provide them with counseling and support.
Geriatric counselors work with the elderly in various locations and usually help their clients with the transition into retirement homes or other types of facilities. They provide support to those who have lost a spouse or are in poor health and need to move away from their homes. These counselors are crucial in helping older people deal with the loss of independence, loss of family and friends, and loss of good health, which can wreak havoc on their mental health. These professionals can often be found in nursing homes, hospitals, care facilities, retirement communities, and senior centers.
Aging can be a traumatic experience when accompanied by the loss of a loved one or independence, and geriatric counselors are trained to help these individuals work through these issues with kindness and empathy. Geriatric counselors are incredibly important for the elderly population. As people age, they often face unique challenges and concerns related to their health, social support, and overall quality of life. Geriatric counselors are specially trained to help older adults navigate these challenges and find solutions that work for their individual needs.
Geriatric counselors may help elderly individuals cope with chronic illnesses, manage medications, connect with community resources, and address mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety. They can also assist with end-of-life planning, including conversations around advanced directives and funeral arrangements.
Overall, geriatric counselors play a critical role in ensuring that elderly adults receive the support they need to maintain their physical, emotional, and social well-being as they age.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors provide treatment and support for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction or those who have an eating disorder or behavioral problem. These mental health professionals often work in mental health centers that provide rehabilitation, community health organizations, private practices, and prisons. Many counselors will treat clients on an ongoing basis because of the high rate of relapses that occur with those suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are trained to provide support and guidance to individuals who are struggling with addiction, chemical dependency, and other behavioral disorders. They are responsible for assessing their client’s needs, setting goals, and developing individualized treatment plans to meet those needs. They also work with their clients one-on-one or in group therapy sessions, focusing on triggers, coping strategies, communication skills, and other aspects of addiction and control.
These counselors provide education and awareness about addiction and recovery, including information on the physical, psychological, and social repercussions of substance abuse and behavioral disorders. When required, counselors may also refer their clients to additional services such as detoxification programs, medical services, and mental health services as needed.
Their job doesn’t stop once the client leaves the institution but continues by offering ongoing support to their clients through regular check-ins, counseling sessions, and support groups to help the individual remain in recovery. They may also act as advocates for their clients, helping them navigate legal and social service needs and working with family members to support their recovery efforts.
Employee assistance program counselor
Employee assistance program (EAP) counselors are a service offered to employees of an organization that gives assistance to workers who may be experiencing mental health issues and need support. This program is voluntary, and the employee can call in at any time they feel they may be experiencing emotional problems. Counselors that work for EAP programs usually work remotely, answering calls from employees and helping them deal with those issues by offering advice or resources. Some counselors work evening and weekend shifts because the service is usually around the clock, and they can also have an office onsite to help employees at a particular location.
EAP counselors first assess their client’s needs and concerns through a variety of methods, such as questionnaires, phone calls, or in-person sessions. They use this information to create personalized treatment plans for their clients. They can provide short-term counseling to their clients using a variety of therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or solution-focused therapy. They may also refer their clients to additional services, such as mental health services or financial assistance programs, if necessary.
EAP counselors offer consultation and support to managers and supervisors who may be concerned about the mental health or performance of an employee. They can also offer educational programs, such as stress management workshops or parenting classes, to help employees improve their overall well-being and job performance. These mental health professionals also provide crisis intervention services to employees and their families who may be experiencing a crisis or traumatic event.
Overall, EAP counselors have a wide range of responsibilities that are designed to support employees and their families who may be struggling with personal or work-related issues. They help employees resolve personal and work-related issues, reduce stress, and enhance their job performance and overall well-being.
Sports counselors are individuals who specifically work with athletes and provide mental health support. Sport counselors can be found in athletic departments in colleges and universities, as well as on professional sports teams or leagues. Counselors can teach athletes techniques for dealing with stress experienced during competition and improving their performance.
Sports counselors first assess their clients’ mental health needs and concerns, which may include stress, anxiety, depression, or performance-related issues. They also provide counseling and psychotherapy sessions to athletes to address their mental health issues, explore coping strategies, and develop a plan to improve their mental health.
Sports counselors teach athletes mindfulness and relaxation techniques to manage stress, improve focus, and optimize performance. They may provide individual and group psycho-social interventions to help athletes build self-awareness, develop social support networks, and engage in activities that promote mental well-being. They also provide mental skill training to help athletes improve their focus, motivation and goal setting, visualization and imagery, confidence, and emotional control. Sports counselors may also refer athletes to additional medical, legal, or other mental health services if there are specific needs.
Military personnel counselors
Military counselors work with war heroes, veterans, and new military recruits who may need support with deployment anxiety and other emotional issues. Military personnel are often at risk of suffering from substance abuse problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. They also take care of military personnel who face challenges on the battlefront and away from military action.
Military personnel counselors play a critical role in addressing the mental health issues of military personnel, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health issues.
Military personnel counselors assess the mental health needs of military personnel through a variety of tools, including interviews, psychological testing, and self-assessments. They also provide individual and group therapy sessions to address the mental health issues of military personnel. These mental health professionals work with their clients to develop treatment goals, identify coping skills, and reduce the negative impact of the mental disorder.
Counselors provide psychological first-aid to military personnel in trauma situations. They help them cope with the stress involved in the aftermath of trauma, building resilience and aiding the recovery of normal functioning. They also offer educational programs to military personnel to provide mental health information and equip them with self-management skills.
Military personnel counselors provide counseling to help military personnel and family members navigate transitions, separations, and other life transitions associated with military life. They also provide career development support and coaching to prepare military personnel for life post-service.
Overall, military personnel counselors provide comprehensive support throughout the entire career of military personnel, including assessment, support in trauma situations, therapy, educational programs, family support, and post-service career development. They serve as a crucial linkage between military personnel and relevant services, making available resources and interventions available for military personnel to improve their emotional wellness.
Rehabilitation counselors combine disability and mental health treatment to help the patient through the rehabilitation process. A master’s degree gives a rehabilitation counselor the ability to work with disabled patients and those suffering from mental health conditions and other conditions. These counselors approach their job with the goal of helping patients become independent and contribute positively to society.
There is a wide range of clients that a rehabilitation counselor can see, and the level of help needed can differ from day to day. There are some standard tasks that these mental health professionals need to adhere to, including assessing the needs of the client. This assessment includes analyzing the health, education, skills, and abilities of their clients.
Once an assessment is done, the rehab counselor designs a treatment plan in collaboration with other members of the mental health team that is individualized for the client. This includes coordinating any medicinal treatments or therapy services the client may need. The rehabilitation counselor also ensures that the resources needed are made available to the client and that those resources are appropriate for their individual disability.
Educating clients, their families, and other organizations treating the client is another important duty of a rehabilitation counselor. These mental health professionals ensure that the client’s needs are met and that they understand the complexities of their disability so they can help themselves more effectively. When a rehab counselor sees a deficiency in the workplace or personal setting of a client, they are responsible for advocating on behalf of that individual and finding the proper resources to fix the deficiency. Lastly, they are responsible for keeping accurate, detailed records of the client, reviewing the treatment plan to ensure it is working in the client’s best interests, and revising it as needed.
Health educators learn the intricacies of human behavior and attitudes, which helps them interpret the behaviors and feelings of their clients. A health educator can work in numerous settings, such as schools, mental health institutions, and hospitals. They primarily concentrate on teaching mental health and encouraging understanding and empathy while working to eradicate the stigma of mental health issues.
Health educators are an important part of the mental health community as they deal with both children and adults and teach families healthy habits for both physical and emotional health. They are responsible for the typical duties that most counselors have, including assessing the needs of the community they serve and helping the members of the community access the proper resources and information they need.
These professionals also work with clients to help them manage existing conditions by teaching them about healthy lifestyle changes and treatments that are available. When the counselor sees that there is a need for a type of program or workshop in their community, they will develop these classes with the help of other mental health professionals.
Health educators don’t just provide general information to a large group of people but will also offer personal support to those individuals who may have the greatest need for extra support. This includes consulting with other members of the health community, such as physicians, nurses, and medical organizations. They are also responsible for collecting data on their community and using this information to advocate for programs and services relevant to their area.
Family and relationship Counselor
Family and relationship counseling is another pathway for a mental health counselor. In this role, counselors work with families and help couples overcome turbulence. Counselors work with the clients to help mend family wounds, childhood trauma, obstacles and turmoil in relationships, all while building up and encouraging clients to communicate outside of the counseling room. This is one of the many areas individuals will learn about when studying for their Mental Health Counseling Online Masters at an accredited school such as St. Bonaventure University. In this degree, students have the opportunity to participate in an internship, and learn crucial care skills that will help improve patients’ lives, whether they be in hospitals, military bases, rehabilitation centers, or with families in need.
This type of therapist helps families through crises or conflicts that require intervention. They also counsel individuals in other types of relationships. In some cases, these therapists will work in group therapy settings as well as directly with the clients and their families one-on-one. The education of these mental health professionals makes them qualified to deal with relationships.
When an individual gets their degree in mental health counseling, a myriad of career paths opens up to them, including those of social worker, geriatric counselor, and sports counselor, among others. A mental health counselor provides ample opportunity and a personal feeling of fulfillment knowing that this career is helping others get emotionally healthy and happy.