Guide to counseling information

Psychotherapy and counseling form the backbone of many treatments for psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Counseling programs draw on many different theoretical models and approaches to affect the person being treated; what works for one person may not work for another, and a specific type of counseling may have little to no effect, while an alternative approach yields a dramatic improvement.

Broadly speaking, there are two different approaches used in almost all types of counseling: directive and non-directive. The directive approach is counselor-centered; the client discusses the issue at hand and is given a clear course of action to take, then reports the results of that action to the counselor, who suggests any necessary alternatives or modifications. By contrast, non-directive counseling services are client-centered; the counselor's role is to guide the client toward reaching a solution on his or her own.

Specific Types of Counseling Programs

Psychotherapy is one of the most common approaches to mental health counseling and can be used for a wide range of problems, from anxiety disorders and addiction to anorexia and bulimia. Its aim is to educate the patient on the root causes of his or her problem and introduce strategies that can be used to ward off symptoms and relapses. Support groups are another form of counseling and are frequently used as supplementary tools in a complete treatment strategy.

Relationship counseling is available for people seeking help resolving interpersonal conflicts, such as those that arise within a family, marriage or other romantic relationship, or during a divorce. Other forms of counseling, like credit and financial counseling, career counseling and life coaching, can also be very beneficial but fall somewhat outside the spectrum of mental health. In essence, if there's an area of your life that needs improvement, there's a counselor out there who can help you.

How to Get Counseling

Local resources or other counseling information is available through your health care provider and your community's mental health network. The Internet is also an excellent source of information on the counseling options available in your community. Free counseling services may be available to those whose treatments are not covered by a health insurance provider.

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