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The term Counselor is often used generically with many titles being used, the most common are counseling therapist, clinical counselor, career counselor, mental health therapist and marriage and family health therapist.
A counselor may be a professional or a volunteer and is someone who helps individuals, families or groups deal with difficult situations, conflict resolution or coming to terms with a loss. Their role is to be nonjudgmental and to help people cope with stressful occurrences in their lives. Depending on the type of counseling, one may not need medical training, however they may not be qualified to deal with a condition which has a medical basis or cannot offer medical advice.
Some of the duties of counselors or community services workers are to interview clients and gather background information, assist clients to evaluate their options and develop action plans, assist clients in locating and utilizing resources such as financial, medical or legal assistance. Counselors can also supervise clients in group or half-way homes, and recommend appropriate programs. Other counselors may provide crisis intervention services
In Canada, credentialing, licensing, registration or certification is the responsibility of each province although at this time counselling and psychotherapy are only regulated is in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Other provinces are working towards regulation.
In the United States, there are various types of licensed mental health professionals with varying titles who can provide psychotherapy. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) are also called licensed clinical professional counsellors or “licensed mental health counsellors. Requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.