A prudent question is an one-half wisdom. And one who never asks either knows everything or nothing. Therefore, to polish the other half, it is important to ask others, especially about the matters we are little qualified to discuss. The same comes with therapy. Curiosity abounds, yet many are unaware of where to find the right answers from. Well! How about a Mental Health Platform? This could be the best place for you to start your research, as it will allow you to speak to a therapist about what they do and how best they can support you. A therapist in their capacity can help you with a wide variety of topics, from dating and relationships to family dynamics to career growth to self-awareness and confidence. This article, therefore, aims to clarify the confusion that surrounds counselors.
Counselor (or councelor) are often confused with the councillor meaning for the two are though different. However, the latter is a noun defined as one who serves in a public position. With respect to counselors as well, there are many types of counselors that one might need in life, be it a legal counselor or a mental health counselor, or many more.
All these words sound more or less the same, but they mean different things. Each refers to its program within its relevant field. Enlisted below are some examples of the related terms-
Councilor/ Councillor: These two words councilor, councillor meaning are the same thing but have different spelling. Using two ‘L’ is an alternative approach that is preferred outside the U.S. Both these terms refer to a member of a professional organization, such as a city or government official. This individual is a member of some type of governing body, and as a part of their job profile, they are responsible for creating rules and laws within their jurisdiction.
Counselor/ Counsellor: Both of these refer to someone who offers Online therapy in the here and now of the client. They can also be a trial lawyer or somebody who supervises others, but the definition commonly refers to one who provides behavioral health services via talk therapy. The counselor definition also encompasses school or career psychologists. The word itself comes from Middle English, and back then it referred to an advisor, but it has evolved since then. And it is only today that we understand them to be counselors who professionally help clients achieve sound mental health, wellness, relational, educational, and career goals. Also, counseling helps individuals to further deal with various difficulties in their lives by first diagnosing and then treating the underlying mental health concerns that involve them to talk with individuals to analyze their concerns, define the problems that they might be going through and then in finding the solutions to those concerns.
To clarify the domain further, a professional therapist on the other hand is someone who is licensed to practice psychotherapy and behavioral psychology techniques for individuals, couples, and families in crisis or seeking advice. They typically hold a master’s degree in psychology and related fields. Marriage and Family therapists are examples of licensed therapists who have a degree outside of the general field. Licensed social workers are trained to provide other forms of mental health support with community referral services.
People lookout for these professionals at various crossroads of their life as informed therapy can help people to (a) understand themselves better and (b) walk through their difficult times. What is however imperative is to be mindful to look for a licensed therapist, to ask them about their credentials. As it will help you make an informed choice towards your mental health.
Some commonly used terms for mental health professionals in our society are Counselor/Counsellor, Clinical Psychologist and Psychiatrist. The lack of clarity on the distinction between the two can make the intervention go in the wrong direction. To gauge the difference between a Psychiatrist, a Counselor, and a Clinical psychologist the following explanation may help.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have years of specialized training in psychiatry. They help to diagnose and treat disorders such as Anxiety, and Depression including other serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and Bipolar, looking at both psychological as well as physical causes which require medical attention.
Clinical psychologists are mental health professionals whose work tends to overlap with that of psychiatrists. These professionals use psychological techniques to diagnose and help individuals to overcome or deal with their concerns.
By the counselor definition given above Counselors tend to work with individuals who are psychologically stable individuals who are seeking professional help to alleviate the stressors in their lives such as emotional distress, social anxiety, inability to keep, and more which may be related to their relationships, work, or other aspects of life. The goal is to provide them with coping strategies.
Psychologists perform the same duties as professional counselors but they also have to provide other psychological services in addition such as administering diagnostic or psychological tests and consulting with involved medical professionals regarding the treatment appropriate for the individuals who require medications. According to the American Psychological Association, there is only one major difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that the psychiatrists can prescribe medications.
Other than that, it is also important to understand which specialist you would like to work with. The following section would enlist different specialists of mental health practitioners-
- Marriage and relationship therapists who work with couples who live together or are married and wish to talk about their feelings, conflicts, concerns related to their relationship or marriage. These kinds of sessions involve both the partners attending the sessions together and at the same time providing the opportunity to both the partners to talk about their relationship, to understand and hear them while communicating in a supportive, neutral, and safe environment. These therapists help these couples to reflect and resolve their conflicts to bring harmony to their relationship.
- Family therapists, professionals who help the family members to communicate with each other effectively. It may include only the sole members or the entire family. These therapists have been trained to help the family bond with each other by making deeper connections to overcome stressful events that are either ongoing or are still there. Also, family therapy can help in providing coping strategies for the family members who are dealing with serious mental health concerns along with individual counseling sessions for the affected members.
- Addiction therapists, practitioners who primarily deal with substance use and abuse such as gambling, alcoholism, or even gaming. By working with these therapists, the individual may learn about the reason why they have developed the addiction concern, any underlying concern related to mental health which could contribute to their dependency on addiction later on providing them with the ways to cope with their concerns and addiction.
- Trauma and Abuse counselors help the individuals to deal with abuse instances that have taken place in their lives. This therapy helps to address the psychological concerns that may come from experiencing abuse that might include trauma. With the help of abuse counseling, the individuals can address their concerns related to self-doubt, flashbacks, and anxiety along with other related trauma. This therapy is also effective for individuals who may engage in activities of self-harm that could be a result of their trauma.
- Grief therapists who work with individuals who have suffered from the loss of a loved one provide therapy and other support services to help their clients/family members to progress through the stages of grieving.
- Sex therapists work with individuals or couples experiencing concerns related to sexual intimacy or of a sexual nature comprising of the ideas of thoughts and behaviors related to sex. This therapy is effective for individuals of any gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
- Clinical practitioners, therapists that work with individuals who have been diagnosed with common and severe mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia including others.
These are some of the commonly used umbrella terms which will help narrow down the search.
With this, it is also beneficial if the search is streamlined with respect to the professionals’ educational qualifications as well. For example, A therapist who has qualifications/specialization in forensic psychology will not be a choice to be considered for therapy if you are looking for a therapist that provides therapy through cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
These differentiations might sound overwhelming, to begin with, but they are for you to be able to make the right decision for yourself to maintain better wellbeing. Therefore, do not hesitate to reach out, be it for clarifications or seeking help to overcome the concerns, if any. Put your prudent question to practice and strive towards the remaining half of your one-half wisdom.
Because more often than not it is about the first step. And when you take that you are already halfway through. So, reach out, and don’t be afraid to hold onto a helping hand to have a better you.
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