Mental Health Counselor

Why We Love Mental Health Counselor – And You Should, Too!

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health issues tend to be multi-faceted. In light of this, mental health counselors are trained to treat their clients in a holistic manner, working in tandem with professionals in education, medicine, and related fields to get to the complex roots of each individual client’s unique struggles.

Their methods of assisting clients are diverse, as are the locations in which mental health counselors work. They might treat substance abuse at a rehabilitation center or provide in-home family counseling, for example.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary $40,850 per year
Similar Occupations Social worker; physician; psychologist
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 29% growth
Key Skills Interpersonal skills; Compassion; Listening skills; Organizational skills; Speaking skills

Duties and Responsibilities

Mental health counselors help patients work through personal issues like anger management, depression, suicidal thoughts, aging, parenting, self-image, relational problems, stress, or addiction. They provide psychotherapy, assessment, diagnosis, substance abuse treatment, and crisis management. Field Specialties Mental health counselors handle records and documentation of their cases and use these to collaborate with other professionals.

Common specialties are substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, career counseling, marriage counseling, and family counseling. Mental health counselors may choose to specialize in a particular patient group, such as children, adolescents, adults, the elderly, couples, or families.

Most mental health counselors in the U.S. work in outpatient and residential care centers, individual and family services, and local governments. They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques used to address issues, including depression, anxiety, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress, problems with self-esteem, and grief. They also help with job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, marital, or other relationship problems.

Mental Health Counselors also continue to play a growing role in the military mental health crisis, helping military personnel and their families deal with issues such as PTSD. Mental Health Counselors often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors. In the U.S. states, Mental Health Counselors diagnose as well as treat mental illness, though the scope of practice for mental health practitioners varies from state to state.

A typical day for a counselor begins by reviewing upcoming scheduled patients and meeting with those patients. After each patient meeting, a recorded assessment of progress is noted in their patient file. Follow-up calls with other professionals to discuss patient care and treatment may be necessary. Meeting with hospitalized, institutionalized, or home-bound patients may also take place during the work day. Patient paperwork and notations to fellow professionals often require additional time in the office or at home.

A licensed mental health counselor spends many years training for this position. After successful completion of a master’s degree in mental health, a prospective counselor then performs two years of supervised clinical experience. Then, the candidate takes a licensing exam to receive the title of licensed mental health counselor.


After earning a bachelor’s degree, a mental health counselor completes a master’s degree in counseling. In a typical program, students take courses in psychotherapy, diagnosis, psychological assessment and testing, psychopathology, group counseling, and research. They also study counseling theory, human development, career development, lifestyles, and social contexts.

Training and Certification After completing a master’s degree in counseling, candidates gain at least two years of clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed mental health counselor, according to the American Mental Health Counselor’s Association. Upon successful completion of a certification test, the candidate is licensed as a mental health counselor.

Work Environment

Mental health counselors work with community agencies, substance abuse centers, hospitals, employee assistance programs, health care organizations, corporations, youth homes, and independent practices. They work with other professionals, including social workers, psychiatrists, and school counselors.

Licensed Mental Health Counselors

Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) are highly qualified, Master’s level, 3rd party reimbursable, cost-effective, public service oriented mental health practitioners. LMHCs work in private practice settings, and agencies, clinics, schools, and hospitals, providing quality mental health services for consumers. Licensed Mental Health Counselors are prepared to assist clients who are coping with a wide variety of problems and concerns.

Licensed Mental Health Counselors specialize in many areas such as the emotional problems of anxiety and phobias, depression, child and spouse abuse, family conflict, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, drug and alcohol abuse, crisis intervention, job and career issues, personal growth, bereavement, and crime victimization.
LMHCs have rigorous clinical training which includes clearly specified, comprehensive, educational and field training requirements:

• A Masters degree in counseling or a related field
• 60 credit hours in total
• 700 hours of pre-masters supervised clinical practicum and internship training
• 3360 hours of post-masters, supervised, clinical work experience prior to licensure
• A passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Examination (NCMHCE)
• Training supervisors of LMHCs must have five years post-masters clinical experience

Importantly, LMHCs must continue their education and training to renew their license. They must obtain 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years. Additionally, to ensure the highest quality of care and protection for mental health services consumers, there are National Standards of Professional Practice and Ethical Standards to which LMHCs must conform.

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. In all states, mental health counseling licensure is required to independently practice, but can be practiced without a license if under the close supervision of a licensed practitioner. Licensing titles for mental health counselors vary from state to state: Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and various forms of these titles may list differently per state statutes. The titled “Mental Health Counselor” (or variation thereof) is a protected title and a violation of state laws for persons to hold themselves as such without the proper credential.

“About LMHCs | MAMHCA” . n.p., 1 Jan. 1970.Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
“Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary”. n.p., 1 Jan. 1970.Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
“Mental health counselor ” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. n.p., 1 Jan. 1970.Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
“What Does a Mental Health Counselor Do?”. n.p., 1 Jan. 1970.Web. 30 Jan. 2016.

Group Counseling Mistakes

How I Used Group Counseling

Drs. Chris Schimmel and Ed Jacobs discuss common mistakes in group counseling from an Impact Therapy point of view based on their book, Group Counseling: Strategies and Skills.


Common Group Counseling Mistakes


Group counseling is a form of psychotherapy that usually involves four to ten clients and one or two experienced group therapists. Most therapy groups meet every week at the same time for one or two hours. During this period, the members of the group discuss the issues that are concerning them and offer each other support and feedback. Interpersonal interaction is highly valued and encouraged. Group counseling may be particularly useful for students who are having difficulties in their relationships or who want to learn about themselves and their connections to other people.


Community Counseling Solutions offers several different groups based on various interests and perspectives.


Why do people join groups?


Most often, people participating in a group because they are having some struggles with their relationships. The group is often the best place to get help with mutual concerns. If you have been referred to the group, it is because it is the most effective method for addressing your concerns. Here are some examples of the kinds of interpersonal issues that bring people to group:



  • Loneliness or isolation
  • Shyness
  • Excessive dependence in relationships
  • Superficial relationships
  • Frequent arguments with people
  • Discomfort in social situations
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Being easily hurt or offended
  • Needing a lot of reassurance from others
  • Afraid of being left and
  • Lack of intimacy in relationships


Naturally, many of us experience these concerns at one time or another, but if you experience one or more of these to the extent that they are causing significant pain or distress for you, group therapy may be a solution.



How does group therapy work?


Group therapy is a unique experience for most people because the therapists and group members work hard to make it a safe and confidential place to explore relationships. Through the sharing process, members develop a level of trust that makes it possible for them to be honest and open with each other. They also learn to care for and accept each other. Ideally, the individuals who join the group are committed to learning about themselves and their relationships, and often they find considerable support and encouragement in group therapy.


Group therapy usually works because members behave in the society in ways that reflect how they act outside of the group. The difference is that the leaders and the other members can help the individual change unproductive patterns by giving feedback about how they perceive you and by offering alternative ways of interacting.


The group can also be a safe place to try out or practice some of these new options with people who are caring and encouraging. The group also helps people see that they are not alone in their pain. Finally, members can get advice and guidance from each other. Even if it is difficult for you to interact in a group situation, you can still benefit from being in the group. What does society look like? Groups can be organized in several different ways. Some groups have an overarching theme or are geared toward a particular type of concern.


Some examples of this type of group are those designed for women with eating disorders, for survivors of interpersonal trauma, or for gay and bisexual men. Other groups are more open to anyone. These are usually called general therapy groups. Another way that groups are organized is in relation to time. Some groups are open-ended and may last for years. Still others are time-limited and conclude after a certain number of weeks–usually between 6 and 12 weeks.


Also, some groups have open membership, meaning that the members can come and go as they please; while others have closed membership, saying that once the group reaches a certain number, no new members are added.


Finally, some groups are considered unstructured while others are considered structured which refers to whether or not there are planned activities for the group. If there are no structured activities, the group itself is free to decide how it will focus its time. If you have been referred to group therapy or are considering group therapy, you will want to ask questions about how the group is organized.



How can I get the most out of a group?


Most people are apprehensive about joining a group and experience some anxiety about doing so. It is not uncommon for people to worry that they will talk too much or not say enough, or that others will not accept them in the group. Most are concerned that the group will not help them. There are some things that you can do to maximize the chances that group will be meaningful and healing experience for you. The more willing you are to participate and commit to the group, the more likely it is that you will benefit from it.


Being as genuine as you can be will allow others to help you more directly. Think about what you would like to work on in the group and work actively towards change. Ask the group for help. Respect your safety needs and don’t press yourself to reveal more than you are comfortable revealing. On the other hand, gently challenge yourself to take more risks with self-disclosure so that your other needs get met as well. Use group to talk about yourself and your concerns. Many people struggle with whether or not it is OK to use group time. They worry that their concerns are not important enough, or they believe that others need the time more than they do. The group will be most helpful to you if you can find a way to talk about yourself. Express your thoughts and feelings.


Notice if you are holding back from doing this and talk about your fears of sharing in the group. “Try on” new behaviors in the group and ask for feedback from others when you do so. Although this means taking risks, it is usually well worth it. Give others feedback. This allows you to practice being direct, honest and assertive, but it also helps the other members to know how they are perceived. Be patient with yourself and the group. It will take time for you to feel comfortable in the group and it will take time for the group to develop trust.


You are encouraged to commit to the group for a sufficient amount of time before deciding that it is not the right treatment for you. When you are not in a group, think about the group and what kinds of reactions you are having. When you return to group the next week, share as many of these thoughts and feelings as you feel comfortable sharing.


“Group Counseling | Counseling Center”. n.p., 1 Jan. 1970.Web. 31 Jan. 2016.
Teen Counseling

5 Teen Counseling Practices That Make You Look Like A Pro




Teen Counseling – The teenage years are challenging for teens and their parents. Teens face many new pressures and may not always react in the healthiest ways to the problems they encounter.


In some cases, teens may need counseling to help them cope with their problems. Parents should know the danger signs to look for and how to find a counselor if their teen needs one.


Some of the struggles teens face are a normal part of growing up, like dealing with peer groups, experimenting with new ideas, and going through changes in mood, identity, and interests. Parents can help their teens through some of these issues by talking to them, being patient with them, and creating an environment that is structured and supportive.


Continue reading “5 Teen Counseling Practices That Make You Look Like A Pro”

Build Your Own Grief Counseling Success: A Beginner’s Guide

Grief Counseling-What exactly is grief counseling and why is it helpful?


You may want to know that grief counseling is a type of psychotherapy. It involves helping grieving people cope with loss in their life. This loss may be the death of a loved one, divorce, or other major life changes or tragedies. Grief itself is any reaction which may be in the form of sadness, depression, regret, anger, or yearning.


Sometimes these feelings and emotions become too much. It’s a burden to deal with alone.


The grief counselor can help to relieve some of the burden by allowing one to express themselves openly and honestly. Speaking to a listening ear during this time will be comforting and nurturing.


Sometimes the mourning will have to develop a new routine. The counselor can help them achieve this.  The counselor will suggest certain rituals to help the mourning cope.



People who are grieving may experience feelings such as loss of meaning of life. They may feel unworthy and in overwhelming despair.


If not counseled properly, grieving can result in the person having a mental illness. This is called complicated grieving. This requires thorough counseling immediately.



Methods Used in Grief Counseling



The following methods can be used when counseling the grieving:


  • Use of imagery techniques – for the grieving to have a better understanding of their emotions and reactions, the counselor will have them imagine and visualize. They will will visualize past experiences or images of their deceased loved one.

  • Open chair method – this method involves placing an open chair faced towards the grieving. Then asking them to imagine their loved one seated on the chair. This gives them a chance to speak to the bereaved person.

  • Use of a memory book – this involves helping the grieving to compile all the stories and pictures of the deceased in a book. This makes them focus and move on with their lives while still remembering their lost loved ones.

  • Writing of poetry or fiction – by encouraging the grieving to write poems and fictions the counselor can help them identify with their feelings.

  • Letting go – the counselor will assist in helping the grieving to release any negative thoughts they are having. They will help them adjust and adopt thoughts that are healthy and affirming.



The Importance of Grief Counseling


There are countless numbers of ways that grief counseling is helpful and necessary. Many of these ways are states below:


  • It empowers the grieving. It helps them to pave the way for a new future. The grieving may feel stuck and unable to move forward in their life. A counselor will push them to look to better days and build their hope for their days to come.

  • Some people may go through stages in grieving. At some point they may not believe that this could have happened to them. Counseling will help them accept the loss in reality. This is a great first step in grief counseling and will help the affected individual a lot.

  • It also helps them in adjusting and coping with life without their loved one. The grieving may not know how to continue on without their dear bereaved one.

  • Grief counseling is a major mechanism in dealing with trauma. Loss can have lasting effects. Any help that is available will help to heal any trauma induced.

  • It helps the grieving to deal with any unfinished business they may have. They may also get a chance to say goodbye.

  • Over time, counseling will help to reduce distress and depression.

  • It helps to establish a supportive relationship with the bereaved.

  • Withdrawal of emotional energy allows the grieving to invest that energy into another relationship.

  • Important in resuming normal activities among the grieving.

  • Very importantly, helps prevent cases of complicated grieving leading to mental illness. This is extremely important. Nobody deserves to suffer in pain throughout their experience with loss. Mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very common in the grieving. More than 3 million cases of PTSD arise a year. Patients have flash backs, anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts. Grief therapy will definitely help and medication may be prescribed as needed.

Need Grief Counseling?  Go to

Mental Health Counselor

Top 5 Live Counseling Tips for You


Live Counseling is the Best Form of Counseling:


Live counseling an excellent treatment for emotion and mental health concerns.


To be able to reap the full benefits from counseling, you need to choose the right counselor, one that is skilled and will make you feel comfortable.


The counselor should be able to offer you the best service to resolve your problem.


An experienced counselor is better able to understand your concerns and can offer you solace and mental peace.


How Can Live Counseling Help You?


There are many ways in which counseling will be able to assist you. First of all, it will make you feel better after sharing your problems with an experienced counselor.


It can and will, with the proper sessions, heal your mind and reduce your stress.


Live Counseling will be more effective and helpful once you find a good and caring listener who will understand you and will offer the required service in a friendly manner.


The counselor will be able to provide adequate advice that will suit your needs and will have a positive impact in your life.


When is the right time to decide whether or not we should seek help from a counselor?


We need a counselor when we lack any other emotional support from our friends and family members and we are finding it difficult to manage the emotions and stress on our own.


Hence the reason why you should choose a service that is cordial, caring and friendly.


Anyone who is suffering from stress and emotional turmoil should consider seeking the help counseling.


Your counselor is not required to have a certificate to be able to provide this type of counseling.


You can seek the help of a counselor if you are suffering career failures, marriage issues, child related issues, old age problems and any other issue that might be causing you to feel frustrated, worried and/or helpless.


You will be able to see the benefits and progress of live counseling if you choose the appropriate counselor.


How to find the right counselor?


You will have to do thorough research in order to be able to find a well-qualified therapist that will be able to asses and treat your mental health.


An experienced, friendly and trustworthy are a few of the top qualities that your counselor needs to possess.


If you are comfortable, seek advice and recommendations from your friends or people with similar needs to get obtain the right therapist for you.


The following are few factors that should focus while looking for a counselor.


• Experience


This is extremely important.  An experienced counselor will be more capable at understanding your problems and will be able to treat them in a better way.


He will be able to recommend best course of action.


Different counselor focus on different areas of practice.


It is wise that you understand the needs that you have and then choose a counselor based on those specific needs.


If you are worried about your marital life and are having issues, then you should seek a marriage counselor.


If you are having problems or doubts in your career then you should look for a career counselor.


• Inform yourself about the different treatment types and options available to you.


There is a wide and diverse variety of mental disorders which makes getting the right treatment crucial.


Learn a bit about all the types available to your needs and decide which type of treatment will be best for your needs and comfort.


• Easy Accessibility


Whatever option you choose, choose one that is easily accessible. You should have the ability of being able to contact your counselor anytime that you need.


Having your counselor available to you will help you work through situations that may be out your reach.


• Types of Therapy


There are different types of therapy, each focused on specific needs.


For instance, individual therapy is focused on solely you.


It is aimed at treating mental and emotional disorders that have risen due to prior personal experiences.


Group therapy is often when a number of individuals suffer through the same struggle.


It is aimed at giving emotional support to those that may otherwise not have it.


Family therapy is, as its name suggests, is focused on family issues.


Couples therapy is mainly focused on personal relationships, as well as marriage counseling.


As mentioned above, live counseling can be applied to any kind of mental disorder. If you, a relative or a friend, is going through emotion and mental turmoil and are looking for medical help, it is recommended to first seek the help of a counselor.


Medication cannot resolve your problem completely and it has many negative side effects that may aggravate your condition. Go to a counselor to obtain treatment and therefore the solution to your problem and get some peace of mind.

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