Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Xiomara A. Sosa is the Owner and Founder of XAS Consulting, LLC (XAS), an integrative counseling consulting boutique firm.

XAS is culturally competent and a safe space for the Hispanic, veteran and sexual/gender minority (LGBTQQIA+) communities.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a professional activity that employs an interpersonal relationship between a clinical mental health counselor (CMHC) and clients in order to enable people to explore and resolve issues of a personal or interpersonal nature. Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice that requires a master’s degree, supervised clinical hours, and passing a licensing exam. Professional counseling/therapy is treatment that can improve your mental wellness. These treatments can help people who are experiencing emotional or behavior problems. It can also help people who have a mental health disorder. Counseling/therapy is sometimes called psychotherapy or talk therapy. The essence of the therapeutic process is change and growth.

Clinical mental health counselors (CMHC) are mental health professionals like psychologists. Unlike psychologists who operate from an illness model,  CMHCs  operate from a wellness model. They are clinicians who must have a Masters Degree, their national license, and in most states they must also have a state license to practice clinical counseling, therapy, psychotherapy, etc.

CMHCs are experts in understanding numerous theories about human growth, development, psychology, mental health, and health and human services. They must be very competent in establishing helping relationships with clients.

CHMCs enable individuals, couples, families or other groups to develop an understanding about themselves and to make necessary changes in their lives. Clinical counseling may deal with immediate crisis, current problems, or long-term issues.

CMHCs must have comprehensive training in order to develop their knowledge and understanding of human behavior, therapeutic interventions, and professional ethics and limitations.  They must also be sensitive to the social or cultural context of the client and must have a thorough and clear understanding of how diversity enriches the human experience, but can also present barriers such as oppression, prejudice and intolerance.

CMHCs are highly-skilled professionals that provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy.

CMHCs are experts in understanding numerous theories about human growth, development, psychology, mental health, and health and human services. They must be very competent in establishing helping relationships with clients.

They can operate independently and are generally reimbursed by insurance.

They reject the illness model and embrace the wellness model.

They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution.

They work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to address and treat emotional and mental disorders and to promote mental health.

They provide psychotherapy, assessment, diagnosis, substance abuse treatment, and crisis management as well as treat mental illness. 

They help clients work through personal issues like anger management, depression, suicidal thoughts, aging, parenting, self image, relational problems, stress, anxiety, stressself-esteemgrief, addiction and many other issues.

They provide ongoing psychological care to clients with substance abuse, unhealthy relationships, and other mental and psychological issues.

They help with job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parentingmarital, or other relationship problems.

They play a growing role in the military mental health crisis, helping military personnel and their families deal with issues such as PTSD. 

They often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors.

Reference:  [Definition of Mental Health Counseling developed by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), http://www.amhca.org/about/facts.aspx]