Stress Counseling

Learn how counselors help patients mitigate stress

stress counseling

Those who work in the field of Stress Counseling focus on a key concept in helping their clients, a concept that those living within the whirlwind of stress must grasp in order to take back their lives. This concept is called empowerment.

Counselors working in the mental health field treat a number of conditions, illnesses that include depression (see Depression), anxiety (see Anxiety), post-traumatic stress disorder (see PTSD), among others. Most of the conditions have stress at their roots, choking off individuals’ abilities to cope with normal daily activities, and find enjoyment in life.

These individuals feel as if stress has taken control of them, causing impossible constraints and distress. Many have encountered traumas, or live with financial pressures – job loss and home foreclosure. Still others have to deal with the serious illness or disability of a loved one. A life of chronic pain, for example, causes an individual to lose control to medications, doctors – even the pain itself.

Whatever the stressful situation or condition, individuals don’t see any way out; they blame the stress on others, fate, or simple bad luck. Things seem to go from bad to worse.

Role of the Mental Health Counselor

The role of the mental health counselor is to help individuals respond more appropriately to stressful predicaments. They help individuals place problems into perspective, developing a cognitive framework that encourages rational and objective thoughts rather than cognitions based only on emotions.

In other words, the role of the counselor is empowerment. This does not mean giving people power – they already have power. It’s having them realize that they already have within themselves the capacity to overcome life’s obstacles.

To empower individuals, counselors use therapeutic techniques to teach healthy decision making patterns because individuals struggling through stress often make unhealthy decisions. They turn to alcohol or drugs, food, and sedentary lifestyles to “ease the pain” of life’s stressors.

By focusing exclusively on the problem, and not letting past mistakes, problems, or life conditions influence a patient’s mindset, the counselor helps the patient diagram, visualize, or write out a range of options. This often means re-directing a patient’s “yes-no” mindset to include numerous possibilities and options.

For example, a counselor working with individuals suffering with chronic pain will have the patients list things they can do during painful periods to distract or take their minds off the pain. The counselor will also work with these patients on how to respond to others’ comments, concerns, or advice regarding their pain, teaching appropriate communication skills.

Empowerment also focuses on healthy alternatives to stress. Exercise, meditation and biofeedback are all self-directed activities that the individual does on his or her own to handle stress. These activities do not require medications or expensive equipment, or other-directed solutions. They are ways that individuals empower themselves to feel better, think more clearly, and release negativity from their thoughts – and bodies.

The counselor helps the individual develop a “plan.” The plan includes contingencies, solving for unseen or unexpected derailments, or new stressors. It’s as if the mental health counselor is a “cognitive personal trainer.” The patient needs some direction and instruction, opportunities to brainstorm, a reflective, thoughtful counselor to re-direct and re-engineer dysfunctional beliefs and opinions.

Stress counseling teaches individuals how to access the coping techniques that each individual possesses. Besides being integral in today’s stress-filled society, stress counseling provides the catalyst that those enmeshed in stress cannot access alone. It’s very difficult to dig one’s way out of stress when the body and mind has been continuously hammered by it. But counseling provides the tools to do the digging.

If you desire to help individuals find the tools and resources to handle stress and countless stressors, giving them back control over their lives, consider a career as a mental health counselor. Regardless of the mental health disorder, stress counseling is part of almost every therapeutic intervention.

To practice as a mental health counselor, at least a master’s degree is required. Most states also mandate state licensing. For more information, contact schools offering degrees in Mental Health counseling or schools offering psychology programs.

The Stress of Noise

Studies and surveys show that “noise” might be causing more individuals stress than many other stressors, such as crime, pollution, or inefficient government.

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 138 million people live in neighborhoods that have noise levels considered excessive by the Environmental Protection Agency.

And British researchers linked noisy neighborhoods to residents being three times as likely to state that they were in poor health.

Andrew Steptoe, the British Heart Foundation professor of psychology at University College London, said that researchers highly correlate neighborhood stress to biological processes that promote disease.

Even noise in the home has been found detrimental to children. According to Purdue researcher Theodore Wachs, children growing up in overly noisy or chaotic environments have less cognitive growth, a delay in language skills, and increased anxiety.

Through his studies, Wachs has found that chaos in the home is often associated with childhood adjustment issues and problems.

Of course, the degree of problems varies with each child, and also among gender. Boys, he stated, typically have more trouble in chaotic or noisy environments than girls.

Experts advise keeping distractions such as televisions and radios to a minimum. Don’t have these devices turned on when no one is watching or listening. Also regular schedules, quiet or “down” times, and activities such as reading are all important ways to safeguard against the effects of noise in the home.

Mental Health Counseling Schools & Colleges
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5 Programs in
Campus
  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
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  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked #23 in National Universities in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges from U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1834, its 340 acre campus is located in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Its student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 58.6% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 94%.
  • Its stated mission is “to educate the whole person, graduating students who seek purpose-filled lives while building a community dedicated to serving humanity in the spirit of our motto, Pro Humanitate.
Show more [+]
  • Ranked #23 in National Universities in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges from U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1834, its 340 acre campus is located in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Its student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 58.6% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 94%.
  • Its stated mission is “to educate the whole person, graduating students who seek purpose-filled lives while building a community dedicated to serving humanity in the spirit of our motto, Pro Humanitate.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Programs in
Campus
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • 15 campuses across the United States, as well as 4 art institutes in North Carolina and Texas.
  • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
  • Each campus is heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
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  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • 15 campuses across the United States, as well as 4 art institutes in North Carolina and Texas.
  • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
  • Each campus is heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
  • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
  • Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society are both available on campus.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
  • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
  • Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society are both available on campus.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
3 Programs in
Online
  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
  • Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
  • Teaches students are from over 160 countries worldwide.
  • Holds full accreditation with degrees widely recognized internationally.
  • Degrees pursued online will look the same as degrees pursued on campus.
  • Its Royal Charter has allowed it to independently award bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees since 1903.
  • Over 6,000 international students on campus.
Show more [+]
  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
  • Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
  • Teaches students are from over 160 countries worldwide.
  • Holds full accreditation with degrees widely recognized internationally.
  • Degrees pursued online will look the same as degrees pursued on campus.
  • Its Royal Charter has allowed it to independently award bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees since 1903.
  • Over 6,000 international students on campus.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
5 Programs in
Online
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • Several student organizations are present on campus, including Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Societies, intramural sports, and a student government association.
  • Main campus is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, with online options as well.
  • Originally founded in 1962 as College of the Southwest.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Several student organizations are present on campus, including Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Societies, intramural sports, and a student government association.
  • Main campus is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, with online options as well.
  • Originally founded in 1962 as College of the Southwest.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university open to students of any faith.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Average class size is 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Has been educating students since 1905.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs. 
Show more [+]
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university open to students of any faith.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Average class size is 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Has been educating students since 1905.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
5 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits