What Does a Counselor Do?

Counselors are professionals who help people resolve personal challenges and improve their quality of life. They are trained in evidence-based treatments and use a range of therapeutic techniques.


Counselors typically have a private practice in a comfortable, confidential office space. They may also work with non-profit organizations or government agencies.

A counselor’s job is to help individuals with a wide range of mental health issues. This includes a variety of conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Counselors also work to promote emotional well-being, which is vital for the overall wellbeing of society.

Many people have a difficult time reaching out for counseling services. However, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to seek out professional help. A person’s mental health is just as important as their physical well-being. And despite the stigma, there are plenty of counselors out there who are committed to providing compassionate care and support.

In addition to offering psychological and emotional support, counselors also strive to promote positive social change. This includes reducing the stigma associated with mental health disorders and encouraging more people to seek help when they need it. They also work to address social issues that can have a negative impact on people’s mental health, such as poverty and inequality.

Counselors use a wide range of strategies to help patients improve their mood and emotional well-being. Some of these strategies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy. Others may use mindfulness techniques and other stress-reduction methods. Additionally, counselors often incorporate family therapy into their treatment plans to encourage positive family dynamics.

Depending on the person’s needs, counseling sessions can last anywhere from one to several hours. Some counselors charge a flat fee for each session, while others offer services on a sliding scale. The cost of counseling depends on a person’s insurance plan as well as the counselor’s qualifications and reputation.

In addition to traditional private practice settings, counseling is also offered in a number of different community centers and GP surgeries, as well as schools and advice clinics. And of course, many individuals also receive counseling online through websites such as BetterHelp.

They help individuals overcome personal challenges.

Resiliency, a person’s ability to bounce back from hardship or life events, is a skill that counselors work to nurture in their clients. They can do this by helping their clients develop and use a variety of coping strategies, as well as offering support and guidance to help them move forward. Some counselors also specialize in specific areas of mental health, such as trauma, addiction, depression, or anxiety.

Counselors help individuals overcome personal challenges through a variety of therapeutic techniques and modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and solution-focused counseling. They typically use a client-centered approach to therapy and may also help clients improve their communication skills, strengthen their self-esteem, and learn better ways to cope with emotional distress.

While the majority of counselors work in private practices, some work in government agencies, schools, community centers, or hospitals. Others work with a particular population, such as teenagers, the incarcerated, families, or the elderly. Some have specialized training to address issues that are unique to certain groups, such as the LGBTQ community or those who have survived sexual assault and domestic violence.

The types of problems that counselors work to help their patients with vary greatly, and the type of counseling that a professional chooses to utilize depends on her beliefs and philosophy. For example, a counseling practice named Resilience Counseling is run by a former church pastor who believes that resilience can be taught to those she works with. McCarty believes that building resilience in her clients will allow them to deal with life’s ups and downs in a more positive way.

One way that counselors build resilience in their clients is by encouraging them to develop new connections with others. They might do this by advising them to participate in activities that are rewarding, such as religious or spiritual services and volunteer work. They may also help them find ways to connect with other people who share their interests and values, such as through a book club or an exercise class.

A counselor can also build resilience by empowering her clients to make their own decisions. For example, she might encourage them to learn to say no and not feel guilty about it, or she might teach them a technique called “self-righting” that involves taking small steps to achieve a big goal, such as getting out of debt or losing weight.

They help individuals develop effective coping strategies.

Counselors help people develop effective coping strategies in order to manage stress and improve their overall mental health. The goal of counseling is to empower individuals with skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. This may include learning how to deal with emotional challenges, addressing problems at home or at work, and helping them achieve career and personal goals.

Therapists offer a safe, nonjudgmental environment for patients to explore their current coping mechanisms and determine whether or not they are helping them manage stress. During therapy sessions, counselors can provide information about different coping methods, teach them relaxation techniques, and encourage positive thinking. Therapists can also help their clients learn how to set aside time for themselves, which is important for maintaining self-care.

Many counselors specialize in specific fields, such as marriage and family therapy, school counseling, substance abuse, and mental health. In addition to their clinical expertise, these professionals must have a strong desire to help others and be able to build trust and rapport with their clients. Many counselors choose to take continuing education courses throughout their careers, which helps them stay up-to-date with current practices and trends.

Career, vocational, and educational counselors work with students of all ages. They assess their clients’ abilities, interests, and personalities to determine realistic academic and career goals. They use interviews, counseling sessions, and interest and aptitude assessment tests to assist their clients. Some counselors also operate career information centers and career education programs.

Behavioral counselors apply a variety of therapeutic methods to help their patients change unwanted behaviors, such as eating disorders or anxiety attacks. The goal of behavioral counseling is to examine how past learning influences an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is thought that when these factors are changed, the desired behavior will follow suit.

Crisis counselors help individuals deal with unexpected and traumatic events, such as natural disasters, community violence, domestic or sexual assault, the death of a loved one, and unemployment. They are trained to listen, validate the feelings of those in need, and communicate with them as individuals instead of as patients or victims. They also provide assistance through hotlines, online resources, and face-to-face support groups.

They promote positive social change.

Counselors are in a unique position to promote positive social change by dismantling barriers that negatively affect individuals. They have the professional training, understanding of human development, and intercultural communication skills to provide culturally competent care to diverse clients. However, they must address the inherent biases in their own attitudes, beliefs, and practices to avoid promoting discrimination.

To counteract these biases, counselors must actively seek out knowledge about diverse populations, cultures, and histories. They also need to be aware of the power structures within their organizations and communities so that they can best advocate for their clients and colleagues.

As a result, many counselors have made efforts to incorporate a social justice approach into their clinical work. For example, the first author of this article received social justice training throughout her graduate education and is passionate about incorporating it into her work with marginalized communities. However, she often finds that she has limited opportunity to engage in advocacy due to her responsibilities as an early-career practitioner.