Life coaching is an increasingly popular profession that has no specific licensing or academic requirements. Though psychologists also often consider themselves life coaches, these counselors/mental health professionals don't focus on treating mental illness. Instead, they help individuals realize their goals in work and in life. An executive coach, for example, may be enlisted to help a chief executive become a better manager, while a "love" coach may map out a plan to help a client find romantic fulfillment.
Cognitive-behavioral counseling stresses the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the belief that thoughts, rather than people or events, cause our negative feelings. The counselor/mental health professional assists the client in identifying, testing the reality of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs underlying his or her thinking. The counselor/mental health professional then helps the client modify those thoughts and the behaviors that flow from them. CBT is a structured collaboration between counselor/mental health professional and client and often calls for homework assignments. CBT has been clinically proven to help clients in a relatively short amount of time with a wide range of disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Family and Marital counselors/mental health professionals work with families or couples both together and individually to help them improve their communication skills, build on the positive aspects of their relationships, and repair the harmful or negative aspects.
Family Systems counselors/mental health professionals view problems within the family as the result not of particular members' behaviors, but of the family's group dynamic. The family is seen as a complex system having its own language, roles, rules, beliefs, needs and patterns. The counselors/mental health professionals help each individual member understand how their childhood family operated, their role in that system, and how that experience has shaped their role in the current family.
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a method of counseling that works to engage the motivation of clients to change their behavior. Clients are encouraged to explore and confront their ambivalence. Counselors/Mental Health Professionals attempt to influence their clients to consider making changes, rather than non-directively explore themselves. Motivational Interviewing is frequently used in cases of problem drinking or mild addictions.
Generally for children ages 3 to 11, non-directive play therapy is a form of counseling that relies on play to help counselors/mental health professionals communicate with children and understand their mental health. Because children develop cognitive skills before language skills, play is an effective way to understand a child. The counselors/mental health professionals may observe a child playing with toys--such as playhouses and dolls--to understand the child's behavior and identify issues.
Solution-focused counseling, sometimes called "brief counseling," focuses on what clients would like to achieve through counseling rather than on their troubles or mental health issues. The counselor/mental health professional will help the client envision a desirable future, and then map out the small and large changes necessary for the client to undergo to realize their vision. The counselor/mental health professional will seize on any successes the client experiences, to encourage them to build on their strengths rather than dwell on their problems or limitations.
Traumatic Incident Reduction is a one-on-one, person-centered, simple and highly structured method of effectively reducing traumatic stress from emotionally and/or physically painful events in the past. It involves re-experiencing past traumas in a completely safe environment, free of distractions, judgments, or interpretations.