Skip Navigation LinksHome > Therapy101 > Types of Therapists > What Professional Counselors Do
Find a therapist

Finding the Right Professional Counselor

Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) work with a variety of clients to help them overcome various psychological and behavioral issues. Using talk therapy (commonly referred to as psycho therapy) professional counselors provide counseling to a selected group of people.

Among the groups that PCs often specialize in are those undergoing treatment for mental health issues, families in crisis, adults and teens with substance abuse problems, children, and even people seeking career guidance. Depending on their specialization, a licensed professional counselor might work in one of several different settings.

Often, professional counselors work within hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Their focus here can be as varied as the patients that come in on a daily basis. Some might work directly with people facing terminal illness or life changing procedures, while others might focus on people who are struggling to overcome a substance abuse addiction. Still other professional counselors work solely with people whose hospital stay is related to mental illness.

Another group of PCs works within elementary, high school and university settings. Working one on one with students (and occasionally parents and teachers, as well) these counselors tackle the underlying reasons behind why students are acting out, getting poor grades, or are suddenly acting withdrawn or out of character. Counselors often uncover physical and sexual abuse in the home, learning disabilities, and gifted children.

Finally, there is yet another group of professional counselors that work in private practice. Among these PC’s clients are families looking to resolve issues within the home, newlywed couples trying to meld two sets of step siblings under one roof for the first time, divorced people looking to rebuild their lives, and people looking for career guidance after losing a job or graduating school. Additionally, some professional counselors specialize in certain areas—including eating disorders, sexual addiction, anxiety and depression, and grief counseling.

Finding the right professional counselor comes down to knowing your specific needs; as well as the counselor’s area of expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you make a decision on which counselor is best for you. Among the things to consider when narrowing down your choices are the length of time a particular counselor has been practicing, what his record is like, and whether or not they are physically close enough for you to viably see them on a regular basis. (After all, no psycho therapist will be right for you if you have to keep rescheduling your appointments!)

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions before you make an appointment—after all, this is the first step towards regaining control of your life.