What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is sometimes also called family counseling or marriage and family therapy. It is a form of mental health care and therapy that treats a couple or entire family as a unit, paying special attention to how the members of the family interact with each other. Each family has a unique personality, communication style, and unique problems they face together. In family therapy, all members of the family attend counseling sessions as a group, and together they learn how to identify conflicts within and without the family, as well as how to communicate better and problem-solve together.
Some topics commonly addressed in family therapy include:
Adoption or Infertility
Family therapists may work in group practices, private practices, schools, or hospitals. They work with families of all different kinds to help them live together as a stronger unit.
What is Social Work?
Strongly influenced by the concepts of human rights and social justice, social workers are professionals that help vulnerable individuals, families, and groups in need. Social work can include a variety of different jobs or careers, but in essence it involves meeting people in their home environment, identifying the issues that are causing social problems for them, and connecting them with the right resources to improve their well-being.
Social workers may work for organizations, in hospitals, in schools, for the government, at senior centers, in private practice, or in any number of public or private institutions. Many social workers choose to work with specific populations, such as children, the elderly, or the poor. Often, social work is about creating healthy communities in order to improve the lives of all people.
Some of the issues that social workers may come up against in their profession include:
Illness and lack of access to healthcare
Drug and alcohol addiction
Death and grief
Social workers are advocates for social change. They educate clients to prevent problems from occurring or worsening. They empower others to develop to their full potential.
What is Mental Health Care?
Mental health care refers to a broad group of professionals who work to keep people mentally well. Just as physical illness can cause unwanted aches and pains, mental illness can cause unwanted thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Even people who are not dealing with a mental illness can suffer from the effects of a stressful situation and find it difficult to cope. Mental health care workers seek to improve the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of their clients, usually through therapy.
There are many kinds of mental health care providers. Some examples include psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, psychiatric nurses, substance abuse professionals, and social workers. Mental health workers treat patients at all stages of life and through many common problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and several others.
Some of the symptoms that occur with mental health issues and may cause a person to seek treatment include:
Changes in eating or sleeping
Decreased energy, fatigue
Numbness or a lack of interest in life
Recurrent, persistent thoughts
Feeling unusually anxious, sad, angry, worried, or on edge
An inability to care for one’s self or perform daily tasks
Patients seeking mental health treatment have several options. The most widely used treatment is psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or simply ‘therapy’. In therapy, mental health workers guide patients as they talk about issues in their life and problem-solve ways to make positive, healthy changes. Some patients also take medication to treat mental illness. Medications are especially effective at treating the chemical imbalances behind more severe cases of depression, anxiety, and illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Many mental illnesses are treated with a combination of both medication and therapy. For example, in substance abuse care, medications to ease withdrawal symptoms are commonly used together with a specific kind of therapy called behavior therapy, which teaches patients how to handle challenging situations without drugs or alcohol. Mental health workers may also consult with physicians or use community resources to help patients function at their best.
What is Counseling?
Counseling is a type of professional guidance for handling problems in life. There are many types of counselors, and they serve an incredibly wide variety of people with all kinds of different needs. There are general counselors, marriage and family counselors, school and student counselors, career and vocational counselors, religious counselors, and gerontological counselors specifically for the elderly.
In all cases, counseling works when the client and the counselor talk to each other and develop a trusting relationship. The counselor listens respectfully to the client’s problems. Then the two together work on identifying goals, increasing coping skills to overcome any troubles, and improving useful skills such as communication. The goals of counseling will be different for each person, but generally they include an increased sense of well being, decreased distress and anxiety, resolved crisis, and increased ability and function in daily life.
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