Counseling Awareness Month 2018: A Counselor Can Help
Last updated: April 2020
Counseling refers to the collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help their clients increase insight on problematic issues, identify realistic goals, and determine appropriate solutions for improving their quality of life. Counseling can help individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences increase their adaptive coping strategies, social skills, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships.
In 2002, the American Counseling Association (ACA) established April as Counseling Awareness Month to showcase and illustrate the profession and its accomplishments. For the past 16 years, they have devoted April as a month to raise awareness and promote advocacy for the counseling profession.
This year, the ACA is launching the theme, A Counselor Can Help, encouraging participants to use the #CounselorsHelp hashtag to spread awareness via social media.
How Different Counselors Can Help
Counselors provide multifaceted services for a variety of populations and demographics. We’ve created guides for 10 different counseling careers and outline them here:
Career counselors help individuals identify and define career-related goals and utilize appropriate skills for work success. They may work with college students, job seekers, or actively working professionals desiring to improve their skill set. Career counselors uniquely help their clients by exploring what they seek most of their education or career. They help individuals identify the factors or barriers impacting career development, and they help map out the next steps for achieving specific goals.
Child and Adolescent Counseling
Child and adolescent counselors help youth with difficult life changes and stressors related to school, family and peer relationships, and social environments. These counselors who specialize in child development guide children in the identification and expression their feelings and help them to develop appropriate coping skills to manage distress. Counselors may include parents or other family members in the sessions as well.
College counselors work with post-secondary students to provide support for academic, interpersonal, or mental health related issues. In general, college counselors seek to promote a safe and welcoming campus for students. Professional counselors at the college level may conduct outreach and prevention activities (such as plan trainings on mental health awareness) and assess individual students for safety risk.
Grief counselors help clients coping with profound loss, such as major deaths, terminal illnesses, divorces, or other sources of significant personal bereavements. Counselors specializing in grief may support their clients by facilitating grief groups to bring together individuals coping with loss. They also work individually with bereaved clients while providing a safe space for healing.
Mental Health Counseling
Mental health counselors provide therapeutic services to clients dealing with an array of emotional and behavioral health issues, including anxiety, depression, relationship concerns, low self-esteem, and stress. Professional mental health counselors uniquely help their clients in providing assessments and treatment planning and providing crisis management.
Military counselors provide emotional and psychosocial support for active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families. Professional counselors who work with military personnel and their families assist by providing therapeutic services for a wide range of concerns and also to help individuals transition back into civilian life.
Pastoral counseling combines theological education and training with counseling to help clients with a variety of issues. Pastoral counselors provide spiritual guidance to their clients and may also work with individuals facing end-of-life issues.
Rehabilitation counseling assists individuals with developmental, physical, mental, or emotional disabilities to lead fulfilling and successful lives. Rehabilitation counselors accomplish this by identifying problematic behaviors or obstacles and supporting clients in finding and implementing proactive solutions. Rehabilitation counselors may also help clients with job development and placement and/or assisting with the creation of reasonable plans that fit their client’s education, aptitude, and cognitive abilities.
School counseling supports students in their personal/social, academic, and career development. They provide various services focusing on their student’s well-being and academic achievement. School counselors will create relevant activities to assist students in achieving their academic goals. They will also provide crisis response in individual and small-group settings in times of need.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Substance abuse counseling supports individuals seeking treatment services and recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction. Substance abuse counselors form a trusting alliance with their clients to promote strength and hope for change while working closely with a multidisciplinary team to develop a comprehensive relapse prevention plan.
Counselor Employment Statistics
Counselors work in diverse settings serving a variety of populations. Here are some statistics for counselor employment across the United States and where most counselors were working as of May 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: 296,460 employed, mostly in California, Texas and New York.
- Mental Health Counselors, Substance Abuse Counselors: 283,540 employed, mostly in California, Pennsylvania and Massachussetts.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: 109,040 employed, mostly in California, Pennsylvania and New York.
- Other Counselors: (working in sectors such as outpatient care centers, state and local government, individual and family services, and schools): 25,420 employed, mostly in Texas, California and Florida.
How Can A Counselor Help You?
A professional counselor can help individuals with many struggles including:
- Acute sudden crises (death of a loved one, major tragedy, job loss)
- Mental health stressors (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem)
- Academic or social issues within a school setting
- Spiritual or religious conflicts
- Military stressors and transitions
- Developmental or cognitive impairments
Counselors work collaboratively with their clients to raise awareness about problematic patterns or obstacles and determine realistic goals for change. Counselors provide their clients with the insight and coping tools needed to improve their quality of life.