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Counseling others and helping them to cope with problems can be a rewarding career choice, and there are several types of counseling courses available that cover nearly every facet of life. Some of the main counseling fields are mental health, substance abuse, rehabilitation, guidance/career, and marriage/family. Choosing a field is ultimately dependent upon one's personal interests and preferences. Learning the differences between each type of counseling course should help prospective students decide which area of study is most appealing.
Mental health counseling focuses on helping clients with problems like depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues. Students will learn about coping strategies and how to help clients implement them into their lives. Another important skill learned in mental health counseling courses is how to help clients develop an overall better sense of self by maximizing positive thinking and minimizing negative thinking.
Substance abuse counseling is concerned with helping clients who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. These courses teach how to assess addictive behaviors and how to develop strategies to aid clients in overcoming the urge to consume drugs and alcohol. Helping clients and families to change the pattern of negative behaviors to break addictions is another key component.
Rehabilitation counseling courses focus on helping clients suffering from disabilities that stem from injuries, illnesses and accidents. Students are taught the skills to help clients cope and become empowered despite their disabilities. Courses may also teach counselors how to help clients assess strengths and skills in order to attain a better quality of life.
Guidance/career counseling involves working with students at the kindergarten through high school level. These counselors will be equipped to help school-aged children cope with the pressures of life and optimize their learning experience. Guidance counselors also instruct high school students in how to choose a career and can aid in the college enrollment process.
Marriage/family counseling courses are another major area of focus. These counselors will learn how to assist couples with conflict resolution skills that are involved in difficult relationships. Counselors in this field may also work with other family members, like children, to help them find methods to function more efficiently as family members.
For those interested in a career in counseling, there are many schools where counseling courses are taught. It's usually a good idea to get information from at least three or four different schools on the course details and costs. An increasing number of schools offer online programs as well, which might be a good option for some students.