To generate awareness about, and show appreciation for, the professional counselors working hard to bring health and wellbeing to clients, the American Counseling Association (ACA) designates April as Counseling Awareness Month.
Professional counselors do not share as much of the limelight as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or even life coaches, but they do much of the same work. Professional counselors often specialize in specific fields, such as school, college, drug abuse, mental health, rehabilitation, and couples counseling. Recently, the US News and World Report listed professional counseling on their 100 Best Jobs list.
Counseling Awareness Month
The 2014 Counseling Awareness Month theme is “I am here.” This theme was chosen to provide additional focus on the counselors themselves, as well as the help they provide. Members of ACA are encouraged to post a short video about themselves to the website, or they can download a special “I am here” picture to use on their social media profiles. The ACA wants to show that not only is there diversity in the work the counselors perform, there is also diversity in the counselors themselves.
The words therapy, therapist, counseling and counselors are often used interchangeably; however, there is a distinction as to what a professional counselor is, and the work one does. In order to be a counselor, a person must pass certain educational and certification requirements.
Some of these requirements vary depending on the area of specialty and the state. To be a licensed counselor, a person must have a graduate level degree in counseling, which is a minimum of a master’s degree. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers likewise have specific educational and certification requirements, and they focus on different areas.
A Counselor’s Scope
Although counselors offer a variety of services, there is a particular scope of care that counselors can provide. Counselors can diagnose and treat mental health conditions, but they do not focus on them as much as a psychologist or psychiatrist does. Counselors will help a person deal with his or her emotional and psychological problems, but will not focus on labeling a disorder or creating a treatment program centering on it.
Instead, counselors concentrate on the well-being, career, and strengths of the client in order to empower him or her to succeed in life. Counseling typically utilizes a holistic approach, looking at ways to help the individual client as a whole, including how to achieve academic, career, and personal success, and how to overcome any problems or difficulties that may be preventing it.
Counselors cannot prescribe medication, as that is the purview of psychiatrists and medical doctors. Additionally, professional counselors tend to not focus on helping clients achieve the basic necessities of life, such as housing and food, which is typically done by social workers.
Help Is Available
Counselors are found in schools, college campuses, rehab and treatment centers, and private practices, and insurance covers counseling sessions. Counseling can be undertaken individually, as well as by a couple, or family, or in a group. Counselors follow the same HIPPA privacy laws as other professionals in the medical field.
At Sovereign Health Group, we employ licensed professional counselors as integral part of our treatment team, leading our group therapy sessions. They are a valuable part of our facility’s treatment programs, and professional counselors are important players in the mental health field. That is why we support Counseling Awareness Month and wish to spread the message about the great work counselors do.
Sovereign Health Group offers state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment for addiction, mental health disorders, and dual diagnosis. We are dually licensed to treat addiction and mental health, and we are Joint Commission accredited. You can learn more about our programs here, or you can call our Admissions team at 866-264-9778.