Having good mental health is an essential human need. With all the struggles people are facing nowadays, plus the still ongoing pandemic, maintaining focus isn't as easy as they were before. As days pass, more people become more aware of mental wellness. Many of them are even looking for ways how they can maintain a healthy mental state. In times like this, seeking professional advice can be a big help.
What is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor?
A mental health counselor can be described as a professional job in line with psychiatrists and psychologists. Becoming a mental health counselor means providing the utmost care for clients who undergo emotional and behavioral issues. Someone who is a licensed mental health counselor uses treatment, including psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and other helpful psychological treatment. Mental health counselors earn a degree from an accredited mental health counseling program to legally conduct such treatments for their clients and patients.
Though psychiatrists and mental health counselors fall in the same category, their job descriptions are very different from each other. A psychiatrist is someone who is considered a licensed medical professional who works to give prescriptions for a specific diagnosed disorder. On the other hand, a person who decides to become a mental health counselor has the freedom to work in teams with other health professionals. Together, they can provide the best comprehensive care to a client who needs it.
Image taken from Mindset Online Course
Learning how to become a mental health counselor includes thorough counseling, diagnosis, and guidance of a client's behavioral, mental, and emotional disorders like
- Behavioral Addictions
- Personality Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Eating Disorders
A licensed mental health counselor can also see clients who need support with cognitive challenges, including bullying, anger management, grief, body image, self-esteem, chronic stress, etc.
Role of a Mental Health Counselor
To be successful in this field, you must first understand the role of a mental health counselor. Becoming a mental health counselor includes combining psychotherapy and problem-solving to give professional help to individuals, couples, families, and even groups. Your primary work includes providing specialized therapy to a specific population like the youth, elderly, disabled, adolescents, and military personnel.
Getting a career as a mental health counselor includes the following duties and responsibilities:
- Identifying the primary symptoms of a mental health disorder in your client.
- Creating a treatment plan for your client over a given period.
- Give sincere support to your clients throughout the recovery and therapeutic process.
- Hold group sessions with your client's family, guardian, or trusted peers.
- Help clients to unravel and slowly understand their complicated emotions and other behavioral patterns.
- Teach clients about the different types of therapy.
- Keep track of the client's progress as they undergo treatment.
- Giving referrals to your clients of other sources for help, including support groups, health care providers, outpatient mental clinics, and even related social organizations.
- Provide clients with valuable and practical behavioral skills they can use in the future.
- Understand how different factors like environmental, physical, and interpersonal aspects affect an individual's mental health.
Image taken from Jacob Tomas
Skills You Need to Become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Professionals in the mental health field encounter numerous people with different personalities daily. Each person has their character, which will require good communication. It is not enough that you only know the basics if you want to be a mental health counselor. To be an effective and reliable licensed mental health counselor, there are specific skills you need to have.
1. Interpersonal Skills
Interacting is one of the things you'll often do when you learn how to become a mental health counselor. You will be having conversations not just with your patients but also with their families and close friends. Aside from that, you will also be interacting with other professionals who'll work with you in helping your patient. One crucial role of a mental health counselor you need to take note of is to effectively work in groups with people having different backgrounds. As an effective licensed mental health counselor, you must have a natural sense of compassion in everything you do. You must also have empathy for the people you encounter. For the group to do the job properly, having a good sense of interpersonal skills can help them perform all the designated duties well. To become a mental health counselor, you must be willing to form a good relationship with your clients and colleagues.
2. Good Listening Skills
A good mental health counselor must be a good listener. A mental health counselor's crucial role is to help clients unravel their behavioral patterns. For clients to do this smoothly, a series of therapeutic conversations must be between them and the mental health counselor. If licensed mental health counselor knows how to listen to their clients well, it will be easier for them to identify what the client is experiencing. From that, they can quickly gather the information they can use as a guide in creating the appropriate treatment plan to help the client. A mental health counselor must start with good listening skills to establish trust with clients.
If there is one important characteristic you need to have when becoming a mental health counselor, it is patience. A licensed mental health counselor must interact and communicate with people who need more profound understanding and appreciation. As a mental wellness professional, you must be in your most patient state to give help to your clients.
Not all of your clients can open up to you immediately. Some of them will take days and even months before they decide to share your stories with you. There would be even some circumstances where you'll meet angered and distressed clients afraid to talk to you. If you are willing to help them, you must be patient in communicating and interacting with them. Do not pressure them to tell you what you need to know. Just do your best to earn their trust, and in no time, they'll reach out to you even without you forcing them.
Image taken from GDC Consulting
Elements to Put on Your Mental Health Counselor Website
Learning how to become a mental health counselor that performs effectively isn't enough. Nowadays, when everything is turning digital, you must learn how to create an online presence to get your dream job as a licensed mental health counselor. Most companies nowadays hire professionals through their websites or online portfolio. If you want to guarantee an immediate "You're hired!", here are some essential elements you must never miss to include in your mental health counselor website.
1. Your Logo
Logos may seem like a website element directed for aesthetics purposes only, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Your logo is one of the first things potential clients see upon arriving on your website. You can easily make yourself remarkable in a client's mind by getting a striking logo design.
Logos can hold a lot of essential details that can help your business. It can tell online visitors a lot about who you are and what you do by how you style it. When you design your mental health counselor website logo, incorporate your brand on it. You can use your brand's color scheme and initials to make it look more professional. Doing this lets your clients easily remember you in just one glance.
At Strikingly, you can use your logo as your online portfolio favicon to make your website more custom-made. Add your logo to the most prominent sections of your website to let your clients remember it.
Navigation is another crucial element when designing a mental health counselor website. If you want impressive website performance, you must ensure that your navigation works perfectly. Some online users nowadays tend to get frustrated when a website slows down or is too complicated to understand. Once they become impatient, they'll immediately leave the website resulting in an increased bounce rate and a missed opportunity.
As someone who wants to secure a good flow of clients, you must ensure that your website navigation is well-functioning. Make sure your navigation is beginner-friendly to make it easier for new visitors to browse your website. One technique you can use is to ensure that your menu labels are crystal clear and in the right place. Only include the essential pages on your main page, followed by the secondary sections. Making an organized online portfolio can help you establish a strong mental health counselor online presence.
3. All About You
The next element you should never forget to include in your licensed mental health counselor page is you. Any online portfolio is nonsense if it contains zero information about who owns it. Most clients nowadays hire a licensed mental health counselor through their online profiles. If you want to secure yourself that dream job, you must show them why you deserve their yes.
Add an About Me Page on your website and showcase everything they need to know about you. You can start with simple background information about yourself, the degree you took, and your contact information, and follow it with the awards and recognitions you got. To make it more interesting, you can even add your hobbies, favorites, and social media accounts to let your clients know who you are as a person. Who knows, you may have the same hobbies as them making it easier to form a bond between you two, right?
Image taken from SOW Body Fitness
Becoming a mental health counselor isn't as easy as we think. To become a reliable mental health counselor, a bachelor's degree isn't the only requirement you need to have. To be an effective licensed mental health counselor, you must undergo challenging physical, mental, and emotional training. You must be ready whenever your client needs your advice and guidance. Though it will require your full attention and make you feel tired at times, it'll all surely be worth it the moment you successfully help your client. Nothing is more fulfilling than being able to perform your duties and showcase your skills as a professional.
Do you want to know more about how to showcase your skills as a professional? Chat with us today, and we'll help you get started.