Although the benefits of mental health counseling may only seem applicable to those suffering from a mental illness, this isn’t so. As a matter of fact, everyone can reap counseling benefits because it helps individuals understand themselves more deeply. Counseling also helps people learn how to avoid stress.
Self-love is important to practice but it’s a learned behavior like most skills. Therefore, counselors and therapists can help patients live their happiest lives. Self-love can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, or alcohol and substance use disorders.
What Are 10 Benefits of Mental Health Counseling?
- It helps people get through mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
- Counseling helps people practice unconditional self-love.
- It can improve someone’s self-efficacy.
- People learn how to manage their stress levels.
- It helps patients feel a sense of validation.
- Counselors and therapists can identify any self-destructive behaviors.
- Mental health counseling helps patients make tough decisions.
- It might reveal hidden mental illnesses someone was unaware of.
- It adds another layer of support.
- The lessons learned in counseling teach people lifelong skills.
1. It helps people get through mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
When people break their bones, they go to a doctor because they’re usually in physical pain. Yet, many people ignore emotional pain that can hurt just as much. Any illness needs treatment; this is the case for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Mental illnesses left untreated can have dire outcomes. Suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States. Also, about half of the people suffering from a substance use disorder also meet the criteria for a mental illness. Therefore, it’s better to get mental health help from a counselor instead of letting emotional wounds fester and get worse.
2. Counseling helps people practice unconditional self-love.
Self-love is the concept of appreciating oneself and being content regardless of what happens in one’s life. When people are dealing with a rough or stressful period of time in their lives it’s easy to feel negatively toward themselves.
The more people have disparaging thoughts about themselves, the more their mental state shifts for the worse. Counseling can help people get out of their mental rut so that they can recognize that they are worthy of love and respect even though life isn’t exactly as they imagined it would be at that given moment.
3. It can improve someone’s self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is the opposite of self-doubt. A good sense of self-efficacy helps people get through obstacles in their lives. This is because people with self-efficacy believe in themselves wholeheartedly.
Therapists and counselors can help patients see that they are fully capable of accomplishing their goals and overcoming other obstacles in their lives. Each counselor or therapist might have their own way of going about this. Regardless of their approach, the theory likely stems from the famous psychologist, Alfred Bandura, who coined the social learning theory. In his paper on self-efficacy, he writes that a person can improve this skill with encouragement and by minimizing one’s response to stress. Plus, A counselor can help a patient with both, which can help with self-efficacy.
4. People learn how to manage their stress levels.
Whether someone is struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental illness, stress management is key to recovery. Counseling services allow patients to identify what stresses them out and then how to approach those situations. Additionally, counseling can help patients take preventative actions to stop them from getting too stressed out in the first place. Counseling can even help people remain positive.
Unmanaged stress can manifest in negative ways. It can worsen someone’s defense against the temptation of drugs and alcohol. It can also manifest as unexplained physical symptoms. People constantly under stress might get random bodily aches and get sick more easily.
5. It helps patients feel a sense of validation.
Getting an opinion from a medical professional or licensed counselor can validate the way a person feels without guilt. In turn, individuals can stop blaming themselves for situations that they have no control over. Alternatively, counselors and therapists can stop patients from being so hard on themselves if they had a part in a situation that ended badly.
Sometimes people put the blame on themselves after abuse or emotional trauma. A spouse suffering from domestic abuse may think that their behavior warranted punishment. A counselor or therapist can help a patient like this understand that he or she feels upset and hurt because of the disrespect that comes from the person’s spouse.
6. Counselors and therapists can identify any self-destructive behaviors.
Patients might engage in activities that don’t benefit them without recognizing it. For instance, a person that might suffer from depression may realize that drinking every weekend worsens depression because alcohol is a depressant.
A counselor or therapist is able to identify behaviors such as these that could worsen a patient’s state of mind. Therapists might give suggestions of what to do instead of drinking as well as suggestions that could overall help such people.
7. Mental health counseling helps patients make tough decisions.
People sometimes feel like they must do something even though it costs them their mental health or physical health. In some cases, they must, but oftentimes they don’t need to sacrifice their health. Counselors and therapists can help patients make tough decisions, like breaking up with an abusive partner or quitting a job because of a toxic environment.
Decisions like these can be painful to make at first but will help a patient succeed in the long run. Advice from counselors and therapists is typically based on years of education and evidence-based treatment. Thus, counselors and therapists can help patients much more than friends and family.
8. It might reveal hidden mental illnesses someone was unaware of.
Sometimes feeling stressed or sad is normal. But sometimes it’s not. Individuals generally won’t be able to know right away if they’re suffering from a mental illness.
An example of this is that people may have times when they feel very upset and sad followed by extreme happiness for no reason. They’re able to lead a normal life but can’t shake the feeling something isn’t right. A mental health counselor or therapist might say that such a person is suffering from bipolar disorder. Yet, only a medical professional or licensed counselor can determine that at the end of the day.
9. It adds another layer of support.
It can be difficult to talk to someone when going through a dark period in life. Those suffering from an addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorder might have a moment where they feel themselves spiraling.
In times like these, it’s crucial to have people to rely on to remind individuals of their self-worth and to stop them from doing anything self-destructive. Relapse is common among those recovering from an addiction. Up to 60% of people in recovery will have a relapse. Reaching out to a counselor or a therapist in a time of need can prevent relapse from happening.
10. The lessons learned in counseling teach people lifelong skills.
When people decide to go see a therapist or counselor, they make a decision to learn a skill that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Learning about self-care and stress management is always necessary for everyone’s lives. People that suffer from an alcohol or substance abuse disorder will especially benefit from these things.
Counselors and therapists can help people that struggle with substance addictions come up with a daily schedule that’s full of beneficial behaviors that they can continue indefinitely. Counselors and therapists can also give patients the tools that they need to assess when their mental health levels are low and how to make a plan to restore them.
Types of Mental Health Counseling Techniques
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT was originally developed after Dr. Aaron T. Beck noticed that people have ‘automatic thoughts’ that affect the way they feel about themselves. Dr. Beck found that these thoughts ultimately translated into behaviors that could be self-destructive at times. Oftentimes, individuals aren’t critical of the thoughts that they have, even though they can diminish the perception of self-worth.
Identifying thoughts that don’t serve the person thinking them is the first step in stopping them altogether—or at least changing the reaction to them. For instance, people suffering from a substance use disorder may have a subconscious thought that they can’t be happy without drugs and alcohol. As a result, they drink or do drugs. Therapists and counselors who specialize in CBT can help patients realize they have this thought that leads to behaviors that don’t serve them mentally or physically.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
The word ‘dialectical’ has two meanings. It means using logical reasoning and it also means having a logical discourse between two contrasting ideas. Dialectical behavior therapy helps patients logically understand why their emotions and POVs are valid. DBT also helps patients understand where their thought processes stem from.
This form of therapy stems from the theory behind CBT. However, it was adapted for people with suicidal tendencies. Marsha Linehan originally developed DBT after she noticed suicidal women didn’t feel like behavioral therapists understood what they were going through. Thus, DBT blends the aspects of behavioral therapy from CBT with a focus on radical acceptance and emotional wellbeing.
Harmony Ridge Recovery Center Offers Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Here at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, we understand that mental health is deeply linked to addiction. That’s why we proudly offer mental health counseling services as a form of dual diagnosis treatment. If you or a loved one resort to drugs and alcohol because of a mental illness, you’re not alone. Contact us now to learn how to live life to your fullest potential.