How does counseling help people?

Does counseling really do anything that can help people?

Earl Lewis
Earl Lewis
Relationship Expert

Yes, Counseling provides an area for people to speak to an unbiased professional about their concerns to address their unique needs. While length of time varies, counseling is a process and can be done from as little as one session to multiple sessions. Counseling provide a safe, non-judgmental, empathetic atmosphere from a professional helper provide the service 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Traci Lowenthal
Traci Lowenthal
LGBTQAffirmative Therapist

Hi!  Great question.  I believe counseling does help people! Of course, I am a therapist, so I would think that! :)  Seriously - I think therapy and counseling allow us to understand ourselves, our motivations and the things that bring us happiness and discontent.  Therapy can create opportunities to try new skills and enhance positive attributes that are already present in someone.  I like to think of therapy as an unbiased "aerial view" of our lives. Someone outside can often help us notice things we might otherwise miss. Hope this helps! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Counseling provides a safe environment for people to explore the beliefs about the challenges in life. The various types(modalities/techniques) of counseling serve as guides for specific individual's personal journeys.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Yes, counseling helps a lot of people, especially when there is a good rapport between the counselor and their client. Knowing your counselor is someone who is really on your side and wants to see you grow past your difficulties into a healthy, happy, successful life is more important than what kind of counseling method they use. If you are looking for a counselor, take your time and be sure you feel heard and respected as well as challenged to grow.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Chris McDonald
Chris McDonald
Holistic Counselor

Counseling definitely helps people!  I have seen so many positive changes from those willing to engage in the counseling process.  Having a safe place to openly share concerns with an objective listener really is therapeutic and can make a huge difference in your life.    Many times people don't feel heard or validated by people in their lives, counseling call help validate your feelings and help you become more self-aware.  You can learn new skills to better manage your life as well.  I find the people who get the most out of it are the ones most willing to make changes.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC
Mental Health in a Primary Care Setting

Hi there! Thank you for your question. It's a great question and one that many people want to know the answer to. The short answer is, YES! Counseling can be very helpful to people struggling with many different things. There has been a lot of research conducted to prove that counseling is an effective way to help people with mental health concerns, life stressors, and many other issues. In addition, there are many people who would tell you that counseling made a positive, profound impact on their lives. Indeed, some would tell you that counseling saved their lives.

Now, not everyone would tell you that counseling helped. But when you think about it, there are many medical treatments for a variety of healthcare issues that also do not help everyone. So, is counseling guaranteed? No. But, it is something that is worth trying if someone is suffering or is just wanting some perspective or support. Also, there is many different types of counseling. Different counselors have different styles and have different training for various issues. This means that you are likely to find someone who has a good style and expertise in an area that you want to work on. If you don't know where to go, I suggest contacting your state's counseling association. They can help.

I think the real question that most people have is, how? How does it help? That question is a bit more complicated, because there are many different models of counseling/therapy that work in different ways. What I can tell you is that, regardless of the model of counseling, the relationship between counselor and client is the most important factor. I don't mean that the relationship has to be ooowy goowy... but it does have to be one where there is trust and openness. A counselor will spend time to make sure that you are working together as a team toward a common goal. If you go to counseling and you don't feel this is the case, tell your counselor. An ethical counselor will welcome your feedback.

I hope this is helpful, please ask more questions! I hope some colleagues add some other thoughts, too.

Be well,

Robin J. Landwehr, DBH, LPCC, NCC

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Cimberly R. Nesker
Cimberly R. Nesker
Registered Psychotherapist (3579)

Counselling offers a number of ways to help one to improve their situation.  For some, this process can take a very long, winding path of self-discovery, while, for others, they are seeking a purposeful, solution-based way to approach and manage a specific problem. It's important to remember that there are different styles of therapy, some of which will work great with some, but poorly with others, specifically to help those to decide how they wish to move forward. I often recommend speaking with a number of therapists before beginning treatment to find out more about how they practice, in order to make sure their style aligns with your goals. 

On a more specific note, there is myriad research out in the world that indicates both counselling and medication can have an affect on changing our moods and behaviours.  However, medication is not an effective way of treating the problem, as it treats the symptoms of that problem (increased anxiety, lowered mood, etc.) and research has shown that the most effective route for better mental health care comes from a combination of counselling and medication. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith
President and Clinical Director, Seeking Shalom

There are multiple ways that counseling helps people. The most basic is that it gives you someone to talk to about and through what you are facing. It is better than a friend because this is a space for your stuff and you get to focus on what you need and don't have to worry about the other side. This is also a place where you do not have to worry about how else the other person is involved in the situation. Beyond this basic level, a counselor will have expertise they can bring in terms of how people, including you, can effectively deal with this kind of situation. The counselor may also be aware of connections that you would not otherwise see. A good counselor will also recognize if and when you need other help or support in the situation. Why wouldn't you benefit from having someone walk with you in your journey to peace and wholeness. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

A counselor can do a few things that can be helpful:

1) Give you a space where you can explore what's in your head without worrying about being judged or punished.

2) Help you better understand yourself, your choices, your motivations.

3) Give you tools and information you can use to help create change in your life. 

Ultimately, though, it's up to the client to take action, because action is what creates change. So, a counselor can't create change ... but they can facilitate and support it. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Yes, counseling can help people.

How this happens is bc the counselor can guide the person or couple into deeper areas of their thoughts and emotions than the person or partners would typically avoid or not even realize they are avoiding.

Also, a counseling session offers emotional safety because the therapist will intervene with thoughtful questions if someone's strong emotions overwhelm them.

This is different than in everyday circumstances.  When someone feels overwhelmed by their own or someone else's feelings, there is no one who asks reflective questions.

Last, people get better in therapy because often therapy is the first time the person has a chance to trust someone with their confidential information and know this information will always be protected.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor

Experts have defined counseling as a healing relationship that helps patients by providing a space to vent, process and receive unconditional support.  Many of my clients have expressed that they are able to find their own answers during the session, because they have the right person listening to them.  Some thought they were safe sharing their concerns with friends or relatives who are good listeners, but later they felt ashamed or guilty about what they shared.  

So why people should share private issues with a Counselor (a stranger)?  Confidentiality is the key word.  A good counseling relationship should provide a space where people are able to share their deepest thoughts and feelings, allowing themselves to be vulnerable and explore those emotions that are difficult to share without implications.  Beyond the ability to provide a safe place, counselors are trained to identify symptoms and behavioral patterns, and can provide insight on how develop coping mechanisms to improve their life.

I am a License Professional Counselor working on a private practice in Puerto Rico: Latitude Counseling, and also I’m licensed in Texas, where I provide theletherapy services.  If you would like to learn more about the services available, you may call 787-466-5478 or visit www.latitudecounseling.com


¿Cómo la consejería ayuda a las personas?

¿Realmente la consejería hace algo para ayudar a otros?

Expertos definen la consejería como una relación sanadora que ayuda a los pacientes proveyéndoles un espacio para ventilar, procesar y recibir apoyo incondicional.  Algunos de mis clientes han expresado que son capaces de encontrar las respuestas a sus problemas durante la sesión de consejería, porque tiene a la persona indicada escuchándolos.   Otros cuentan que se sentian seguros compartiendo sus preocupaciones con su familia o amigos, pero esas preocupaciones afectaron sus relaciones negativamente, o los dejaron con sentimientos de culpa.

 Así que, ¿Por qué deben las personas compartir asuntos privados con consejero, (un extraño)?  Confidencialidad es la clave.  Una buena relación de consejería debe proveer un espacio donde las personas puedan compartir sus más íntimos pensamientos y sentimientos, permitiéndoles ser vulnerables y explorar esas emociones que son difíciles de compartir sin consecuencias. Mas allá de proveer un espacio seguro, lo consejeros profesionales estamos entrenados para identificar síntomas, patrones de conducta, y proveer perspectiva en cómo desarrollar los mecanismos de defensa necesarios para mejorar la calidad de vida.

Soy Consejera Profesional Licenciada en Puerto Rico, donde practico a través de Latitdue Counseling, también estoy licenciada en Texas, donde proveo servicios de teleterapia.  Para más información llame al 787-466-5478 o visite www.latitudecounseling.com

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. La información provista es para propósito general basado en información mínima, no constituye aviso medico. Esta información tampoco constituye una comunicación directa con un consejero o terapista y no crea una relación entre cliente y terapeuta o desarrolla ningún privilegio. Si tiene pensamientos suicidas o está en crisis puede llamar al 911 o visitar su sala de emergencias mas cercana.
Toni Genovese
Toni Genovese
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
I love this question! Some people shy away from counseling because they think since they already talk about how they feel to their relatives or friends they shouldn't need a counselor. However, if you are having a difficult time, counseling can be beneficial in helping you move forward and get your life back on track. 

Counseling is not like the kind of talking we do to people we know. For one, your counselor does not have a history with you and has no expectations of how you will act and what you will do. In that way, counselors come to a session without judgement and expectation. This gives you the platform to truly explore your thoughts and feelings. A counselor can also help you understand your motivation and help you integrate your past experiences and recommend coping skills that can help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. 

Over time, as you work with a counselor you will get feedback and also be able to share new insights. The work you do is based on you and where you are at. Oftentimes, when we talk to friends they bring their own agenda to a conversation, and while they mean well they may offer solutions that work for them and not you. A counselor will help you uncover the solutions that work best for you and help you find the motivation to follow through with your plan.

Best of luck to you!
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Step into your new life path.

Hello. Yes, counseling can be beneficial to many people. One of the effective components to effective therapy, is when the client becomes willing to participate in the counseling. I don't mean just show up and listen to the counselor for 45-50 minutes, but also that the client themselves opens up and shares with the counselor the issues that brought them to counseling in the first place. This requires you to be vulnerable, capable of moving past your protective measures of showing the best of yourself, and allowing the counselor to see the sides of you that likely are not as favorable. Therapy works when you and the counselor engage openly, honestly, and with mutual trust that both of you will work for common goals - your improvement of self. It does take time, and there are no quick fixes (usually), so be prepared to invest in yourself and explore the dark places. You'll thank yourself later, knowing that you are more connected to yourself and might even feel more whole after the process. Be well.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

I believe that counseling (and finding a GOOD therapist) will be of significant help when the individual seeking therapy desires change, improvement, and overall growth. Most counseling involves homework and a level of commitment outside of session that also contributes to resolution of problems and an ability to cope with stresses in a productive way. Here are some of the key ways that therapy can help.

1. Helps to define the problem and gain a clearer understanding of where it originates.

Many people seek counseling because of symptoms they are experiencing. These can include feeling sad, increased sleeping, substance use, panic attacks, self-harm, isolating one’s self, academic decline, etc. Often times, people are not aware of what is causing these symptoms. Having a therapist to help guide and explore why the symptoms are occurring and where they come from will give individuals increased insight and awareness into their problems.

2. Allows for a safe outlet to vent.

Not everyone likes to share their problems with close friends or family members. Maybe they don’t want others to know of their flaws. Maybe they don’t want to burden others with their problems. Or maybe they just are not comfortable talking about themselves. And in some situations people do not have the option of talking with someone they know because they have no friends or family. While talking with those we know can help bring some relief it is also nice to talk with someone like a therapist who is objective and emotionally removed from given situations. Counseling gives a safe outlet in which one can express their personal feelings and thoughts without feeling judged.

3. Counselors can offer various problem solving solutions.

A good therapist usually will not directly point their client in the direction they need to go. Counseling is about growth and teaching the client to identify triggers and use effective coping strategies that will bring about emotional and psychological relief. Counselors will help clients to explore the various options available in given situation, based on the client’s needs, wants, and values and will help them to choose the option that best fits with their desired outcome.

4. Gives one the tools needed to cope with current and future problems.

Many individuals that seek therapy have never learned good coping strategies. Perhaps they did not have parents or caretakers to model productive ways to cope or maybe the symptoms they are suffering from are overbearing and take away the energy needed to cope. Different diagnoses require different tools; however some are beneficial for any problem and any individual. These include but are not limited to relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, development of healthy routines, using mindfulness, improving communication skills, and recognizing and changing maladaptive thought patterns. A good counselor will teach clients how to use these tools, will often practice them during session, and will assign homework for further practice and mastery of the skills.

 


The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Cory Ian Shafer LPC
Cory Ian Shafer LPC
Psychotherapist, Jungian, Hypnotherapy

Counseling allows us to have a sacred space, a space that is set apart from the outside world, it is a space of non-judgement and exploration. Being that the universe is not made for us and that the the world tends to be a fairly untamed place at times, this sacred space allows us to explore ourselves. It allows for greater reflection upon our attitudes, our behaviors and our feelings. Imagine if you will a small goldfish swimming around the usual fish tank, although I dont attest to know what a goldfish thinks, I would imagine he does not see the world outside of him, he only sees the small fishbowl, oblivious to the outside world, when one comes into the counseling room, one is trying to gain insight that was not previously there. Remember the observer affect, one cannot truly act objectively with the world, we are in a dynamic relationship with life, it reacts to us and we to it, the time in the counseling room allows us to gain an understanding that is beyond the normal limits, allowing us to see what was before hidden, often times in plain sight.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Frank Walker
Frank Walker
I help couples manage the bumpy road called marriage. Whether your marriage needs a tune up, a major overhaul or just a flat tire changed. I can help.

Counseling can go a long way in improving your mental health. 

Counseling helps you to get new perspective on your life and problems.

Talking about your problems with a counselor gives them substances and something to get a handle on. Talking about your problems gives you a chance look at your situation from a new angle to help solve your problems.

The counselor is a neutral listener that can help give direction and answers to your needs.

Counseling can help you solve your problems but also can set up a plan for the future. Counseling can help you to deal with things before they get out of hand.

Give counseling a try.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

A lot of things affect how helpful counseling is for each person, including at least these things, but often many others:

  • The therapeutic alliance (this refers to the bond, connection, or trust between the client and the counselor)
  • What the person is coming in to work on
  • How motivated the person is to work on what it is they would like to change

Some people also ask how counseling is different from friendship. There is a similarity in the sense that hopefully both counselors and friends will listen to what you are experiencing, but that is really the end of the similarities. Some differences are:

  • Counselors are specifically trained to phrase questions or statements in ways that help you to gain more awareness of one could be contributing to what it is that you are trying to change, both within yourself, and possibly with people around you
  • Counselors have experience in using lots of different types of techniques (for example, focusing on finding solutions, looking at how the present situation could relate to your past, using role-plays or examples in session to help you learn new skills or ways of looking at situations, and probably hundreds of other things)
  • Counselors are taught to look at what you are experiencing and ask questions about other related ideas that you may not have connected to what you are experiencing
  • There is a treatment plan in place (usually after the first, second, or third session) so both you and the counselor have an idea of where you would like to go with counseling (what you are hoping to change or learn) and a general idea of a plan for getting to your goals

In general, I would say the following:

  • Yes, counseling can help people who want something to be different in their lives
  • Counseling is most helpful when the connection between the counselor and the client is strong enough that some trust forms (in other words, not every counselor or technique is helpful for every person)
  • A lot of counselors will talk to you on the phone for a few minutes prior to you coming in for your first appointment to answer any general questions that you may have
  • If you are working with a counselor and you feel as though you are not "clicking" or connecting with one another, give it three or four sessions before you change. Trust is not happening in one hour for most of people
  • If you are working with a counselor and you would like to be getting more or something different out of it, tell the counselor about that because typically modalities can be changed
  • If you are asking this question because you would like help with a specific issue, call a local counselor and discuss it so that you could have a more specific answer about possible options for counseling
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.
Darlene Viggiano
Darlene Viggiano
Let Your Inner Light Shine!
Yes, counseling really does help people by creating a...  (more)Yes, counseling really does help people by creating a relationship with the therapist that is healthy, and teaching patients to carry that style of relating out into the world of personal emotional bonds. This is why it is crucial to choose your therapist carefully! The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Submit your own question

More Answers