Introduction to Mental Health Counseling
The primary objectives of clinical mental health counselors is to diagnose and treat individuals suffering from mental and emotional disorders by utilizing effective techniques aimed at prevention. The various roles, approaches and responsibilities performed by clinical mental health counselors are important components in regards to strengthening an individual’s ability to regain control of their lives to independently manage their disorder. This paper will (1) discuss the roles and approaches used by clinical mental health counselors across a range of mental health delivery systems, (2) discuss the role of the CMHC in both providing and seeking professional consultation, (3) discuss the impact that public policies have on the roles and responsibilities of clinical mental health counselors,(4) discuss how the policies of professional, governmental, and accrediting organizations impact the practice of clinical mental health counseling and (5) how local, state, and national public policies potentially affect the quality and accessibility of clinical mental health services.
Roles of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor
To address the needs of vulnerable populations, counselors are urged to engage in advocacy, outreach, and social actions (Gladding & Newsome, 2010, p. 207), therefore, counselors have become known as consultants and advocators. To provide the client with effective services, counselors use the concept of consultations to link clients with external resources to ensure the needs and concerns of a client can be addressed. Advocacy in counseling is characterized by the support and recommendations proposed by counselors regarding social situations experienced by a client. Counselors advocate for clients or students to improve the quality of services and treatment provided to clients and students. According to Moe et. al, (2010), “scholars propose that integrating a social justice advocacy role into the core identity of professional counselors will help redress past and current societal oppression of marginalized populations,” (p.106). Counselors use advocacy to implement changes in social regulations for clients and students in the school systems and out in the community. Counselors advocate on behalf of clients and students to address social ills including the principles of equity, access, participation, and harmony to support to change procedures on an individual basis as well as within the community and sociocultural levels (Crethar, Nash, and Torres-Rivera, 2008). Clinical mental health counselors advocate and consult with other agencies and programs within the community to address societal oppression and the mental health concerns of clients and students. Advocacy and consultation ensures that clients and students are provided with the most effective treatment to address his or her needs and concerns. Advocacy and consultation helps decrease institutional and social barriers individuals experience; overall promoting improvement in mental health within communities. Counseling Approaches and Responsibilities
In order for counselors to provide effective services, various approaches and responsibilities must be performed to address the many at risk behaviors associated with many of the disorders. Frequently in clinical settings, the initial session is used primary to gather information about the client for the purpose of assessment and diagnosis (Gladding & Newsome, 2010, p. 143). Also in the initial session, counselors should quickly assess whether they are capable of working with the client’s issues through being honest, open and appropriately confrontational (Okun & Kantrowitz, 2008). Once each party feels comfortable with one another, counselors have to find what triggers a client’s willingness to open up in order to start the process of self-discovery. Since...
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American Mental Health Counselors Association. (2013). AMHCA Professional Standards. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from: http://www.amhca.org/assets/content/AMHCA_Standards_1-26-2012.pdf
Crethar, H., Nash, S., and Torres-Rivera, E. (2008). In search of common threads: Linking multicultural, feminist, and social justice counseling paradigms. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 269-278.
Gladding, S. T., & Newsome, D. W. (2010). Clinical mental health counseling in community and agency settings (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. (pp. )
Kliff, Sarah. (2012). The Washington Post. Seven facts about America’s mental health-care system. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/17/seven-facts-about-americas-mental-health-care-system/
Moe, J.L., Perera-Diltz, D., and Sepulveda, V. (2010). Are Consultation and Social Justice Advocacy Similar?: Exploring the Perceptions of Professional Counselors and Counseling Students. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 2,106-123.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2013). State Mental Health Cuts: The Continuing Crisis. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=state_budget_cuts_report
Okun, B. F., & Kantrowitz, R. E. (2008). Effective helping: Interviewing and counseling techniques (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole
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