What does a mental health counselor do?
Counseling is a field that helps people in a unique and extraordinary way. As a Mental Health Counselor, you work in a youth home, hospital, rehabilitation center, assisted living facility, or employee assistance center. Your clients as a Mental Health Counselor vary in age, ailment, and life situation, but you offer all of them the same thing–hope.
Depending on where you work as a Mental Health Counselor, part of your job is often to provide crisis response. That means when a patient in drug rehabilitation displays violence towards other patients, you step in. When a man in the community climbs to the rooftop and threatens to jump, you respond. And when a boy goes to jail for threatening to detonate a bomb on the school campus, you investigate.
Diagnosis is another major component of your job. You assess the patient’s behavior, moods, level of understanding, and ability to process information. You also consult with other professionals, such as [career_link nurses], [career_link doctors], [career_link psychiatrists], or aides, to get a complete picture of the patient’s symptoms. With this picture, you make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan.
If the plan involves medications, you work with the Psychiatrist or Doctor who has the authority to prescribe them. Drug and alcohol treatment is typically recommended. Another common approach is psychotherapy. In this case, you verbally discuss the patient’s problems one on one, or in a family or group setting.
So, whether you’re helping a patient deal with addiction, trauma, depression, stress, aging, anger, attempted suicide, parenting, or relationship issues, you respond with a gentle hand, a reassuring tone, and hope for the future.