What is Counseling?
Projected growth is primarily due to an increase in people seeking addiction and mental health counseling services, as well as a collective trend toward treating multiple problems at one time through groups of specialists. Demand for qualified professionals will also rise in conjunction with states sentencing drug offenders to treatment rather than jail time.
Earning a counseling degree will allow you to pursue a wide variety of career paths within the field. Most focus their studies on a particular topic.
Some of the most common areas of specialization include:
- Eating Disorders
- Mental Health
Counselors can also specialize in working with a specific population, such as children, teens, LGBTQ, adults, military, or the elderly. These professionals may work in numerous settings, providing private or group sessions. Some even offer counseling on the phone in addition to face-to-face sessions.
While there are many different types of counselors, they are all dedicated to helping other people live healthier, happier lives. They are trained to assist with a variety of social, emotional, and mental health problems, as well as serving as advocates and helping their patients manage the physical and psychological difficulties that can accompany ailments. While counselors can evaluate the mental and physical health of their clients, they cannot prescribe medications of any kind; only psychiatrists can do that.
Every job and its specific requirements differ, but some of the most common responsibilities include evaluating clients and assessing readiness for treatment, developing and reviewing treatment plans and goals, and assisting in skills and behaviors development. It’s also not uncommon for counselors provide education and assistance in developing various coping strategies. Some may coordinate with other medical and mental health professionals when developing and managing patient treatment plans.
Most counselors work full-time in family services offices, care centers, hospitals, community / vocational rehabilitation facilities, outpatient mental health, substance abuse centers, service centers, hospitals, or residential substance abuse facilities, and schools. Some do also own and manage their own practices. While the work can be extremely rewarding, it is often stressful and highly demanding, with large workloads and long hours that require time during the evenings, nights, and/or weekends.