No man is an island. As individuals, we are each part of something bigger: a group, a community, a society, or a nation. We contribute and impact each other in these circles through working together to build a good environment and close community.
When we work together, we can achieve greater things. However, it’s unavoidable for problems to arise. A few individuals in one community with a problem may seem like a small issue at first. But this can snowball into a community-wide issue that affects the group as a whole. In other instances, there are community problems that have always been present, yet we still continuously struggle against them.
At a much larger scale of the community, we find that these problems only continue to grow in size and severity. It affects more and more individuals and has greater effects on the state of the community.
You can often address these problems through counseling. Counseling is a term used to describe receiving professional help when resolving problems that arise from an individual or even a group of people. Through this process, a person, as an individual or part of a bigger group, can become fully aware of themselves and their impact on the world around them.
What Is Community Counseling?
While many forms of counseling exist to address different issues, community counseling addresses community problems in particular. Community counselors work with individuals, couples, peer groups, families, and even entire communities to identify and address problems in the community.
Here are a few problems which you might have seen in your community:
- Peer bullying
- Child abuse and neglect
- Domestic violence
- Police brutality
- Drug use
These are only some problems that are apparent in a community. Community problems vary in severity and scope. Some affect individuals, and some affect certain communities like schools and people of color. Others are on a smaller scale, within families. While they may start small, it affects more and more people when the problem becomes more frequent. It increases in severity, and that’s when community counselors step in. They identify, address, and prevent the problem from reoccurring in the community.
Prevention is the main aim of community counseling. They teach the public about mental health and give them the tools to address stressors and the root of a problem. This is how a community counselor prevents problems from growing. Their work doesn’t stop there. Counselors offer one-on-one sessions and group sessions. They can help an individual grow in touch with themselves and the people around them.
As it falls under public health, community counseling can provide therapy for the public and foster support between community members. As multiple community problems also count as social issues, community counselors also advocate for social change to improve the community they serve.
Why We Need Community Counseling
There is a saying that a group is only as strong as its weakest member. As you look at the bigger picture, we find that communities are one of the foundations of a progressive nation. Small communities represent their larger groups in greatness as well as catastrophic events.
While other counselors may target specific individual problems for and their wellbeing, community counselors do the same at a much larger scale. They address social discord and risky environments that are often factors in developing mental health issues in the community.
Problems from previous generations are passed on and perpetuated to the next, and it grows exponentially as each generation passes these problems on. This cycle continues as a friend passes on the problem to a friend. A teacher wrongly encourages the issue in a class or raises her children in a dysfunctional environment. Community counseling breaks this cycle, preventing its continuation to the future members of the community.
Individuals, children, their parents, adults, and all sorts of people benefit from community counseling both directly and indirectly.
The Counselor’s Work
You can find a community counselor in different aspects of the community, working with the variety of individuals you see in a community. They can be both in-patient and out-patient providers operating in multiple settings throughout the community.
Considering the many units of a community, counselors are in high demand. It’s a career you can pursue if you want to serve the public while addressing mental health. These are a few other settings you can find a community counselor. You, yourself, may have talked to one in your life as a member of a community:
- Private practices
- Mental Health Centers
- Community Wellness Centers
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Organizations and non-profit groups
Addressing the needs of communities brought together by common problems are also part of a counselor’s work. Community counselors work with inmates in prison and individuals in rehabilitation for substance abuse to improve their lives. These are small communities in need of support and counseling a community counselor can encourage within communities.
Despite the many different settings they work in, all community counselors undertake the job to build and foster a thriving community. It is part of their job to diagnose problems and address them through counseling. To prevent future problems, counselors work to offer support to families in need and determine the population’s needs.
A part of a community counselor’s work is to educate. Through educating the public in mental health concerns and social issues, counselors raise awareness against the problem. Knowledge is vital when identifying and addressing the problems of a community. Community counselors continue to research to this day to keep finding new and better ways to build a peaceful community.
A Peaceful And Thriving Community
The community influences an individual, and the individual influences the community. It is a cycle of influence that can be positive or negative. Community problems such as violence and discrimination are perpetuated by this cycle, but we can break them. With the help of community counselors, individuals can break the cycle and start to pass on a legacy of positive change in the community.
Community counselors break through walls and set the path to a peaceful, thriving community. They are there to guide you to find yourself and your place in your community.