The Typical Role and Activities of a Mental Health Counsellor

Mental health problems affect a high number of people today, with individuals experiencing common problems such as anxiety and depression, and rare ones such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The high prevalence of mental health problems increases the demand for the services of professional counsellors for purposes of diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and management of mental health issues. Mental health counsellors utilize a variety of psychotherapy procedures and techniques to assist people in overcoming mental distress. Mental health counsellors engage in numerous roles and activities including diagnosis and assessment of individuals experiencing distress, supervision and guidance of the treatment team, and collaboration with patients to identify management techniques.

Mental health counsellors diagnose and assess individuals with symptoms of psychological distress. Counsellors collaborate with medical practitioners to identify mental disorders and differentiate physical from medical conditions. 20 percent of the conditions presented to physicians have symptoms unrelated to medical disorders (Karademas, 2009). Thus, the role of a counsellor is to assess individuals and identify psychological difficulties that are mostly under-diagnosed in the medical setting. The activities involved in this role include interviewing of patients and use of diagnostic tools to evaluate the psychosocial functioning of individuals (Karademas, 2009). This role benefits the patients and medical staff as counsellors alleviate the frustration experienced by medical personnel in such diagnoses.

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Mental health counsellors play the role of consultants and advisors to the treatment team. The counsellors supervise other mental health professionals, organize treatment and management programs, and evaluate the success of the programs applied. Counsellors also provide recommendations to medical staff in the identification of psychological disorders and reference to mental health agencies (Karademas, 2009). Besides, mental health counsellors advise other professionals on the steps of improving the mental well-being of patients. Therefore, counsellors provide guidance in the management of psychological difficulties.

Psychological counsellors provide intervention services and collaborate with patients in the identification of predisposing behaviors and thoughts, and management techniques. The counsellors provide patients with information regarding how to modify maladaptive behaviors and change dysfunctional thoughts (Wahlbeck, 2015). The intervention techniques also involve the families of the patients in the provision of training, information, and training. The counsellors thus assist the clients and their families in overcoming mental disorders and adapting healthy lifestyles. 


Karademas, E. C. (2009). Counselling psychology in medical settings: The promising role of counselling health psychology. The European Journal of Counselling Psychology1(1/2).Wahlbeck, K. (2015). Public mental health: the time is ripe for translation of evidence into practice. World Psychiatry14(1), 36-42.

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