a married couple and a counselor

Types of Counseling

Dr. Trent Langhofer, Director of the Community Counseling Center at Colorado Christian University 

Over the last 40 years, mental health has been recognized more and more as a major component of overall health. With this recognition has come major advances in the way mental health is being treated by trained professionals. There are several different types of counseling that effectively address mental health struggles.

Counseling can be broken up into various types, but for the purposes of this discussion I intentionally want to oversimplify things and break all types of counseling down into two categories:

  1. Cognitive-oriented counseling
  2. Behaviorally-oriented counseling

Cognitive-oriented counseling is aimed at helping individuals change their patterns of thought. While it may be true we cannot control every thought that pops into our heads, we can control how long we allow ourselves to dwell on a certain thought. Once an individual's thoughts begin to change, their symptoms begin to subside.

Behaviorally-oriented counseling is aimed at helping individuals change their behavior. Counselors often help clients develop goals centered around behaviors they would like to start. Other goals are developed around behaviors that clients would like to stop.

Counselors can teach clients coping strategies that help behaviors begin to change.

Counseling is often broken into groups based on either the type of client being treated or the type of problem being treated. There are many different types of clients treated for mental health issues. Individuals of all ages, couples and entire families are treated for mental health issues. Within those groups, there are specialized approaches to treating clients that have unique needs, such as military veterans.

The way treatment looks from problem to problem can sometimes be very different. For example, treating clients that struggle with substance abuse looks very different than treating a couple dealing with infidelity or a child being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Treating a client with substance abuse disorder requires healing the underlying pain that compels the client to seek relief through the use of mood-altering substances. Treating a couple dealing with infidelity is about re-establishing trust, working through the pain of the betrayal, promoting forgiveness, and developing new patterns of connection for the couple. Working with a child struggling with PTSD requires listening to and supporting the child, teaching the child’s support system ways of helping the child feel safe, and teaching the child methods of coping with anxiety and feelings of distress. 

The Community Counseling Center at Colorado Christian University offers each of the aforementioned types of counseling. Our staff of highly trained master’s-level and doctoral-level clinicians have extensive experience in integrating faith-based principles into ethical mental health treatment. It is my sincere hope that anyone struggling will reach out to us, or any other qualified mental health clinic, to experience the joys of healing.

Find out what options you have for continuing your education in counseling and learning more about a future career in this exciting field!

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