Mental health counselor
A mental health counselor (MHC) is a person who practices mental health counseling.
Description of duties
A significant point of reference to distinguish MHCs from social workers, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists, is that MHCs increasingly utilize a psycho-educational model for counseling clients, in conjunction with the more traditional medical/illness model for assessment and diagnosis. However, the main distinction from other mental health fields include its emphasis on prevention as well as an approach grounded Developmental Theory (not medical model), and its holistically focused approach.
MHCs work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat emotional and mental disorders and to promote mental health. They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques used to address issues, including depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress, problems with self-esteem, and grief. They also help with job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, marital, or other relationship problems. MHCs often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors. In many U.S. states, MHCs may diagnose as well as treat mental illness, though the scope of practice for mental health practitioners changes from state to state.
- List of counseling topics
- Mental health professional
- Nonviolent communication
- Social worker
- Occupational therapist
- Expressive therapy
- Behavior Therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Rational emotive behavior therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
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- Hershenson, D. B. & Strein, W. (1991) Toward a mentally healthy curriculum for mental health counselor education. "Journal of Mental Health Counseling", 13, 247-252.
- Palmo, A. J., Shosh, M. J. & Weikel, W. J. (2001). The independent practice of mental health counseling: past, present, and future. In D.C. Locke, J. E. Myers, & E. L. Herr (Eds), "The handbook of counseling" (pp. 653–667). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Seiler, G., Brooks, D. and Beck, E.S., (1987) Training Standards for Mental Health Counselors, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 9(4): 199-209
- Smith, H. B. & Weikel, W. J. (2006) Mental health counseling: The first thirty years and beyond. In A. J. Palmo, W. J. Weikel & D. P. Borsos (Eds.) "Foundations of mental health counseling" (3rd ed.), (pp5–29. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.
- Prepared June 2008 by William J. Weikel Ph.D., Howard Smith, Ed.D.., Artis J. Palmo Ph.D. and Edward Beck, Ed.D.