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What Is Needed to Be Successful in Treating Behavioral Health Issues

Counselor grabbing hands of patients in supportive way over pillow

Most people would agree that empathy and compassion are two of the most important traits a counselor must possess to succeed when dealing with incredible sorrow or tragedy. Both empathy and compassion are largely a part of the fabric of who we are. Most humans naturally have a degree of compassion and empathy, and we can all learn to develop both traits as skills.

Interestingly, we have talked about how counselors also need a sense of humor to get through the difficulties of addiction treatment. Being a counselor takes work; there are as many losses as wins. In fact, with relapse rates as they are, counselors must understand that only some patients they see will be successful this time around. Hopefully, they have built a strong foundation upon which future therapy can build. That said, having a sense of humor and not always taking oneself seriously is critically important to get through what can often be a grueling workday.

Lastly, you must care. Of course, most counselors care about the person and want them to succeed in their recovery, but genuine caring runs deeper. As counselors, we are often overworked, and that’s an unavoidable part of our jobs. But that does not mean that we should ignore our curiosity and questioning. In other words, when a patient comes to us with a pre-existing diagnosis, we shouldn’t take that as gospel. Instead, we must question the diagnosis and come to our own conclusions, which may or may not differ from before, to ensure we are doing our best for our patients.