A psychological problem is not synonymous with mental illness, so it is important to know what specialist you need and how you find it.
Let’s first make a difference between three terms that people often use interchangeably.
- The psychologist is a psychology graduate, specialized in labor and traffic psychology, educational psychology, school and vocational counseling, psychology for defense, public order and national security, or clinical psychology.
- The psychotherapist is the psychologist specializing in psychotherapy, which means that after graduating from the university and eventually from a master’s degree in psychology, this specialist follows some psychotherapy and personal development training.
- The psychological counselor is also a psychology graduate, following training courses based on self-knowledge and personal development. This professional is focused on concrete issues, on optimization and personal development. The role of the counselor is to stimulate self-knowledge and personal development, as well as prevent certain emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems. However, a counselor has no competence to do psychotherapy.
What does the psychological counselor do?
Through psychological methods, the counselor mediates and guides the process of self-knowledge, improving the quality of life from a psychological point of view. He or she guides and supports the process of personal development and also prevents and regulates various imbalances and issues of emotional, cognitive or behavioral nature.
In other words, a counselor guides the person in a difficult situation, to find their own way, their own solutions.
When people have a problem or an emotional challenge, they often turn to a friend or a relative and avoid going to a counselor. The support we get from friends or relatives is important indeed, but not specialized; it is often subjective and may have an inappropriate influence.
The psychological counselor accompanies the patients in finding their own solutions, supports them to make their own decisions, and does not direct them to something that may not be right, but guides them towards finding their own way.
Finding a great counselor
It is advisable that expectations about the attitude and behavior of the counselor, how they conduct sessions and other issues related to this type of experience are discussed right from the beginning. The counselor`s duty is to clarify the details of his / her professional training, the attitude towards change, the structure of the intervention, the usefulness of each part, prioritizing objectives, confidentiality limits and expectations. Also, if the counselor notices that there is no compatibility with the patient, they should refer them to another specialist.
Finding the right counselor can change your life and the way you interact with yourself, with others and the world in general. Therefore, do not choose the first counselor that you can find; take your time and get information about the person you consider and make sure you do some real progress during your interaction.
You know you found a good counselor when:
- you feel respected and encouraged
- you trust their knowledge and their desire to help
- the goals set together are realistic and you believe together in the possibility of your change
- you feel safe
- you do not have the feeling that you are pushed in an unwanted or unsuitable direction
- there is mutual sympathy
- you cannot wait for the next meeting.
If you are currently in the mental health field and looking to move it’s best to search for mental health jobs near me, to find a job close to home and close to your patient for their convenience.