Counseling is defined by the American Counseling Association as the professional relationship empowering diverse groups, families and individuals to achieve mental health, education, career and wellness goals. Through counseling, people get the help they may need to change the way they feel, behave and think, making it a collaborative process that is goal-based. That said, it should only be provided by a supportive and non-judgmental counselor who can help the client set viable goals, tell his or her story and create plans and strategies that can lead to accomplishing those goals.
One of the most common misconceptions about counseling is that it is only for those who are depressed and for patients who have mental disorders. However, it is actually ideal for anyone who may need a reliable professional to listen to him or her and help them understand themselves, their unique situations and life changing events or sudden changes in their lives.
Counseling may be helpful in addressing areas like anger management, addictions, and substances abuse, communication, grieve, depression, cultural adjustment, stress management, self help, life transitions, emotional support, anxiety, and trauma. People typically seek counseling when they cannot deal with their personal concerns and other issues by themselves anymore or they think they have no one else to turn to for help.
The duration and efficacy of counseling may depend on the person being counseled, as well as the expertise and skill of the counselor. Some people may take a short amount of time to achieve the goals of their counseling plan, while others may take longer. In any case, confidentiality may always be maintained between the counselor and the client, with only a few exceptions. Sessions used to be face-to-face, but technology has made it possible for some counseling service to talk to client online or by phone, especially if the client has no time to drop by.
Counseling is easily accessible these days with many counselors and services available to everyone. Some counseling services specialize in certain issues, so you may need to consider a counselors specialization and the types of people he or she typically works with. Counseling and psychotherapy can be provided for adults and children. Counseling for children can be helpful in addressing behavioral problems, eating disorders and emotional disorders, but it can aid in psychometric assessment, parent-child support, child play therapy, and school maladjustment issues.