Free Career Review Paper: Certified Mental Health Counselor Research Paper Sample
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One of the longest surviving branches of Psychology is counseling, specifically mental health counseling. The reason mainly for the survival of this field is that because it has met a national need not accomplished by other mental health practitioners. In this day and age where most people are troubled, professionals in this field are much more needed. Mental health counselors have included themselves in the ranks of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers as one of the forefront of mental health care providers. In a more practical sense, mental health counseling is quite a young discipline. In the year 2011, it was noted by Borsos, Weikel & Palmo that mental health counseling has been in existence for only 35 years. However, it is still an important factor and a dynamic discipline in society. Despite the continuing discussions about its role, function, and identity, it is still a substantial branch of the mental health practice.
In the terms of identifying the mental health counseling profession, it can be known as a collective of the specific scientific, professional, and educational contributions to the discipline of psychology, education, and counseling. Most mental health professionals have identified their work as an interconnected comprehensive and holistic system of the identification of individual stressors and personal levels of development. It is also identified as the encouragement of healthy lifestyles among people and the preservation of the reinstatement of mental health (Pistole, 2001). The mental health counseling profession itself has established a profession where the individual is thought of as both holistically and developmentally. This process is done with ample interest in the influential background of a person.
The kind of system that mental health counselors use is a systematic and individual perspective. In addition, clients of these professionals are entrenched within and are influenced by their societal, cultural, socioeconomic, historical and family background. This fact means that the whole community and interdisciplinary actions can be utilized in the treatment. Alongside with this system, the person may be seen as a gestalt of multiple aspects such as social, physical, emotional, spiritual and vocational formations. These aspects combine and conclude in a healthy lifestyle. As a fraction of the health care practice, mental health counselors concentrate on the wellness and overall mental health principle of a person. This dynamic is without regard to whether a person’s issues are more insightful of the progress of the individual’s developmental struggle or clinical pathology (Pistole, 2001). This profession encourages a principle that concentrates more on the wellbeing and stronger capacities of a person that springs from multiple domains. Mental health counselors focus less on curing the apparent mental illness.
As written by Maller (2013), a study made by the University of California Los Angeles revealed that nearly one in five adults stated that they needed help for their mental or emotional problems. Women are twice as likely as men say that they needed help for the mentioned problems. This study was made in California alone with a population of about 4.9 million, one in each five adults interviewed says that they had feelings of sadness, anxiousness or nervousness by which they would need help. Also, one in three persons have declared that they needed mental health services by which they visited experts for treatment.
Because of the current trend for the need of mental and emotional support, this paper aims to review the possibilities of performing a job of a mental health counselor. This paper will focus on discussing the history of mental health counseling and some of the theories that operate within its system. Also, the paper will aim to review the kinds of research methods that are commonly used in this profession and some of the studies created to support the methodologies. Lastly, it will review the skills and knowledge needed in order to fulfill the profession of mental health successfully.
II. History and Theory
The start of modern approaches to the management of mental and emotional disorders began in the late 18th century. Before that time, people experiencing mental and emotional disorders were either put in asylums with disagreeable conditions and no procedural treatments. These individuals also came to live as wandering poor men transported from town to town. At an even earlier time, these mental and emotional disorders were also seen as a spiritual disorder that were thought of as demonic possessions and were only found curable by exorcism or by burning the person.
Since then over the course of time, different conditions, wars, and depressing social conditions emerged. From those events in history, the need for mental health treatment fully bloomed. Despite the youngness of the profession, mental health counseling did not appear all at once. In the year 1976 with no indicated previous history, a number of events led to the emergence of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. However, according to Borsos, Weikel & Palmo (2011), even before the establishment of the association, there were already a number of individuals who were practicing in the field. Their professions as mental health counselors were even long before they began to use the title in their profession. These chain of events do not create too a detectable and purposeful path of history. Then again, these events may be treated as essential strands of the whole of the profession; that without them, it will not be whole.
Two of the theories that govern the operations of counseling are the theories of existential and Adlerian theory. Being a mental health counselor involves the capacity of the professional to create a better pathway for the client. The job of the mental health counselor is to help the client identify the best track for his or her dilemma. By the help of these theories, clients can identify their feelings thus also identifying the best solutions for their problems.
III. Common Research Methodologies
Most studies reveal that the quantitative research method is most commonly used as an aid to the profession. It was indicated by Borsos, Weikel & Palmo (2011), which the single subject design can be the focus of the counseling research structure. This fact is so because they have certain advantages for counselors. These advantages are allowing for a more appropriate identification of what is happening with the client and the counselor. Also, this design meets the quality assurance objectives needed for a more competent practice. Lundervold and Belwood (2000), state that this is at least the best-kept secret in counseling. According to these researchers, single-subject designs offer a more scientific and credible means to evaluate objectively the practice and to conduct a more clinically relevant research. This notion is also supported by Smith et. al. (2014), when they stated that as one of the responsibilities of the counselors are to use methods that are supported by strong empirical data. One of the many research methods has met the criteria. That is the single-subject research design. Another popular quantitative research design used by counselors is the survey studies that are mostly longitudinal. These studies are widely used in the field of counseling because of its ability to produce self-reports from subjects. It also allows for the study of persons over a long period thus enhancing the chances of stability in the study.
IV. Empirical Data
In a study by Baron et. al. (2011), they used a two-survey longitudinal study to test their hypothesis. They used this approach to determine the interest and use of Mental Health and Specialty Behavioral Medicine Counseling in US Primary Care Patients. The study was able to promote the long-term effects of the psychological interventions in US Primary Care Patients that may benefit mental health counselors and patients alike. This study also proved to be an essential study in helping cure patients who are on the brink of having heart attacks and those who are victims of cancer. In the study conducted by Baron et. al (2011), they were able to gather 461 females aged 46 years old. That of which the retention rate for the sample at the time of the survey was 61.2%. The patient demographics used for this study was anxiety, depression and their interest in the counseling services. These patients were assessed through a survey mailed to them a week after their appointments as out-patients. Respondents to the survey were contacted again a year later to evaluate.
The result from the study conducted by Baron et. al. (2011), revealed that 45.7% of the sample reported an interest in availing mental health counseling services. Another result found was that 58.9% of the sample reported an interest in behavioral medicine counseling instead. However, patients who preferred behavioral medicine counseling found it difficult to avail of the service because of its lack of availability. One limitation that they were able to determine in this study was the fact that their sample may suggest a selection bias from among those who were able to avail counseling services. Another significant limitation of the study is that the research did not measure the patient’s motivation, readiness for change or self-efficacy. This study is beneficial to the field of mental health counseling since it greatly promotes taking advantage of the available mental health services. The research in itself aims to promote better lives for primary care patients that are also the objective of counseling only at a larger scope.
Another study that used a survey method research design is the study of Kaufman et. al. (2013). This study aims to determine the use of community-based mental health counseling for children orphaned by AIDS in China. The study assessed 314 children that were orphaned by AIDS and also those who were not orphaned by AIDS combined. These children were assessed using depression and anxiety scores. It was revealed that 81 children suffered from depression and 145 children suffered from anxiety. These children represented 61% of the survey. This survey was repeated twice thus limiting their sample to only 39. Their results revealed that mental health professionals are not only needed by children who were orphaned by AIDS but also by those children who were currently experiencing a difficult time in their lives. A limitation that had occurred in their study was the fact that they were not able to include the role of the caretakers in this intervention as added support for the children. This study greatly influences the field of counseling since it calls for the promotion of more mental health counseling professionals in countries that lack the service.
V. Certified Mental Health Counselor
As presented by the material above, there is currently a great need for mental health counselors in the country. One profession that I am currently considering to perform is the job of a Certified Mental Health Counselor. In order to become a mental health counselor, an individual must learn how to keep confidential information. They must be able to encourage patients to express their feelings, and they must be able to guide clients in the development of their skills and knowledge. Another requirement that comes together with this profession is that the counselor must have ample knowledge about Psychology and Counseling. Knowledge of Sociology and Anthropology can also come in handy when dealing with clients.
Because of the subject Counseling and Psychotherapy in college I was able to develop my knowledge in the field of Psychology thus discovering the opportunity of being a counselor. My internship as a counselor has improved my interests to become a mental health counseling professional. The subject of learning theories has also encouraged my desire to develop better programs for individuals who are currently experiencing difficulty in life.
Baron, K., Lattie, E., Ho, J., & Mohr, D. (2013). Interest and Use of Mental Health and Specialty Behavioral Medicine Counseling in US Primary Care Patients.International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 69-76. doi:10.1007/s12529-011-9211-4
Harrington, J. (2013). Contemporary Issues in Private Practice: Spotlight on the SelfEnnployed Mental Health Counselor. Journal of Mental Health Counseling,35(3), 189-197.
Heppner, P. P., Wampold, B. E., & Kivlighan, D. M. (2008). Research design in counseling. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Hooper, L. M. (2014). Mental Health Services in Primary Care: Implications for Clinical Mental Health Counselors and Other Mental Health Providers. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 36(2), 95-98.
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In Maller, D. (2013). The Praeger handbook of community mental health practice. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Kassirer, S. J., Delaney, N. M., Goldstein, L. M., Taylor, M. E., Dobmeier, R. A., & Hernandez, T. J. (2013). Scope of Practice Impact on Employability in New York State: Director and Counselor Views. Journal of Mental Health Counseling,35(4), 360-376.
Kaufman, J. A., Zeng, W., Wang, L., & Zhang, Y. (2012). Community-based mental health counseling for children orphaned by AIDS in China. Aids Care-psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of Aids/hiv, 25(4), 430-437. doi:10.1080/09540121.2012.712661
Mosuro, S., Malcolm, D., & Guishard-Pine, J. (2014). Mental health awareness and coping in foster carers: The impact of a counselling skills intervention.Educational and Child Psychology, 31(3), 64-70.
Palmo, A. J., Weikel, W. J., & Borsos, D. P. (2011). Foundations of mental health counseling. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Pistole, M. C. (2001). Mental Health Counseling: Identity and Distinctiveness. ERIC Digest.
Walz, G., & Bleuer, J. (2014). Evidence-Based Practices and Single-Subject Research Designs in Counseling. VISTAS Online.
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