Nobody is an expert at handling all of life’s challenges and difficulties. Sometimes it just seems that no matter what you try on your own, it just isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s because you’re not trying the right strategy and sometimes it’s because there’s just too much happening in your life all at once. For these reasons, it’s important to consider getting professional help.
Counselling (sometimes called “therapy” or “psychotherapy”) is a set of techniques intended to improve mental health, emotional issues, or behavioural problems. These problems often make it hard for people to manage their lives and achieve their goals. Counselling helps a person to resolve these problems via a number of different approaches and techniques that involve discussion between the therapist and client and often ‘homework’ or activities to do between sessions. Because sensitive topics are often discussed during counselling, accredited counsellors are legally bound to respect the client’s privacy and confidentiality.
Given that counselling is usually restricted to verbal exchanges, counsellors do not have to be medically qualified (and in most cases they cannot prescribe medications).
You can benefit tremendously from professional help if any of the following are true:
- You feel emotionally overwhelmed.
- You are very concerned about your physical or emotional health.
- Your own effort at solving your problems is not working quickly or effectively.
- You notice that your suffering is significantly affecting your work or the lives of people that are important to you.
What kind of professional help is available?
Psychotherapists and counsellors (e.g. registered clinical counsellors or social workers with a private practice designation)
Health care practitioners (e.g. your family doctor)
Spiritual adviser (depending on your religious affiliation, e.g., a minister, priest or other cleric)
Depending on the community where you live, you may also find community services and self-help groups available to you.
The articles in this series will help you the basics about counselling therapies, choosing a counsellor, and other types of professionals that may be helpful for your particular health and well-being challenges. You’ll also learn about confidentiality and the responsibilities of your care support person to protect your privacy and ensure you receive the best quality experience.
Learn the basics about counselling therapy and counsellors:
10 tips for finding reliable health information online
Demystifying your first counselling session
Finding the best treatment for your depression
The different types of counselling and therapy
The pros and cons of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
What does a good counsellor do?
What should I look for in a counsellor?
What to consider when looking for a therapist
Learn specific therapies and treatments of mental health and other challenges
Bipolar Disorder: How counselling can help
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): How it works
Counselling for a healthy heart
Depression is treatable
How is Borderline Personality Disorder treated?
How is Social Anxiety Disorder Treated?
How to manage depression with self-care
Self-care is not “the” answer to depression
Treating anxiety: The most treatable of all mental health issues
Treating depression: Maintaining your gains while preventing any setbacks
Treatments and therapies for anxiety disorders
What can help reduce my anxiety?
Other popular topics about counselling
Are you a victim of Abuse? Find help across Canada
How to support a loved one with mental health concerns
Life’s challenges: When trying on your own is not enough
Older adults and depression: Getting help
For more information about counselling and therapy, the following resources may be helpful.
Canadian Professional Counsellors Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association
The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in B C.
Counselling Psychology — American Psychological Association
Psychology Help Centre — American Psychological Association
Who needs counselling? — PsychCentral