Mental health and wellness counselors carry the enormous responsibility of ensuring their patient’s well-being and preventing risk factors that could result in adverse outcomes. They work closely with patients and caregivers to encourage healthy lifestyle shifts and aid individuals in overcoming destructive patterns.
Each patient demands a uniquely tailored approach with a treatment designed to address individual struggles and emotional needs. For instance, patients with substance use addictions need counseling to overcome drug use and embrace healthier lifestyles. A counselor must help the patient alter negative perspectives of health and well-being and prevent the patient from relapsing.
It’s natural for counselors and therapists to feel devastated if a patient dies due to an overdose or suicidal depression. Health and wellness counselors are deeply involved and ingrained in their work, and patients are more than just cases. The responsibility of helping people overcome unhealthy choices and cope with trauma is multifaceted and gives birth to many roles.
Keep reading to explore the major roles of health and wellness counselors.
- Promoting Wellness & Healthy Life Quality
Mental health counselors working in different settings and treating various mental health afflictions work towards the unanimous goal of promoting healthy life quality. However, counselors adopt different treatment approaches to advocate healthy life choices to address their patients’ individual needs. People coping with addiction, mental health disorders, traumatic life events, or anxiety need counseling to improve their quality of life and well-being.
Whether they come in the form of depression or mood disturbances, mental health illnesses impact our ability to look after ourselves. We lose sight of our dietary needs, physical activity, professional responsibilities, financial obligations, and hygiene concerns. People struggling with substance use often face marginalized and homelessness because of their disheveled appearance and carelessness.
Counselors deploy various counseling approaches to administer a healthier life therapy, aiming to correct negative attitudes and advocate mindful choices. Wellness counselors have a unique and ideal position to encourage healthier lifestyles and help people make conscious decisions. For instance, counselors use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help addicts rationalize the negative impacts of sustaining their drug habits.
CBT is a popular and powerful tool to correct negative habits and encourage healthier lifestyles to help patients heal. CBT is highly effective in helping patients overcome phobias, addiction disorders, negative body perceptions, and reckless behaviors, such as smoking and gambling. Promoting wellness and healthy life quality demands encouraging patients to change their perceptions of a healthy diet and harmful habits. Counselors empower patients with resources, tools, and attitudes to improve their health and well-being with adequate preventive care and mindful choices.
- Preventing Self-Harm and Adverse Life Outcomes
Suppose a counselor suspects that a patient with chronic depression is at risk of committing suicide. In that case, the counselor must warn caregivers, law enforcement, institutional administrator, and other relevant parties. The exact requirements of the Duty to Warn stipulations tend to vary, depending on state-mandated regulations. However, the premise remains the same: counselors must report patients at risk of hurting themselves or others.
Most patients entrusted to a counselor’s care are at risk of self-harm in one way or the other. For instance, recovering addicts are at risk of dying from overdosing if they succumb to the urges of the substance and relapse. Likewise, patients struggling with body dysmorphia mutilate themselves and struggle with suicide ideation. Patients diagnosed with chronic depression or suicidal schizophrenia seek counseling to overcome suicidal thoughts and compulsions.
Counselors help these patients overcome the urge to self-harm and rationalize their behaviors through various counseling approaches. For instance, psychotherapists use CBT to help patients change negative thought patterns and rediscover the joy of living. CBT allows patients to process their emotions and overcome negative thoughts using rationality and logic-driven arguments. Psychoanalysts deploy more controversial approaches, such as free association and dream interpretation, to eliminate suicide risks.
- Coping with Emotional Trauma
Patients struggling with mental health illnesses need help coping with emotional trauma and the pain of adverse life experiences. In some cases, adverse life experiences, such as child abuse or sexual violence, trigger mental health disorders. In other instances, poor life choices, such as drug use, lead to traumatic life experiences and adverse outcomes. Each patient needs a tailored approach to encourage healthy coping mechanisms and conflict resolution.
Suppose a patient struggling to cope with the sudden death of a loved one turns to binge drinking as a coping mechanism. In such a scenario, the counselor will help the individual adopt healthier coping mechanisms to overcome the pain. Counselors deploy various psychotherapeutic approaches to help patients find more beneficial coping mechanisms. For instance, therapists advise light therapy, art therapy, socializing, self-care, traveling, and keeping a journal.
People struggling with the trauma of sexual abuse or violence fall prey to destructive behaviors, suicide ideation, and self-harm. Violence and abuse, especially sexual abuse, rip us of our power, disempowering us and damaging our self-esteem. The lack of healthy self-esteem encourages self-harm, as we do not associate importance with ourselves and our well-being. Therapists help patients cope with their trauma and reclaim their power and self-esteem to love themselves again.
- Managing & Overcoming Mental Health Symptoms
Counselors treat various mental health concerns and disorders, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and mood disorders. They help patients identify and manage their symptoms and work toward overcoming mental health illnesses. Some patients, such as people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, struggle with the perpetual threat of relapsing looming over their heads.
Patients discharged from in-patient programs often seek counseling to manage their symptoms and adopt healthy lifestyles. Counselors provide emotional support and mental health therapies to ensure steadfastness and prevent the risk of relapsing. For instance, recovering addicts discharged from a rehabilitation facility seek counseling to remain steadfast in recovery.
Counselors help patients understand symptoms and risk factors and adopt healthy life choices to prevent relapsing and rehospitalization. They help patients reclaim their place within their communities and prevent mental health issues from interfering with their life quality.
Counselors wear many capes and play various roles in empowering patients to overcome the emotional and mental burdens of illnesses. They serve as life couches when helping patients devise strategies to reclaim their power and astonish naysayers with their progress. They act as trustworthy confidants when offering safe spaces to help people open up about their adverse life experiences.
Counselors act as healers who offer undeniable and unconditional emotional support to uplift individuals, families, and communities. They are superheroes who help communities fight the growing burdens of mental health illnesses and enjoy healthy life quality.