Does personal experience in mental health issues help being a mental health counselor. Or you just need an understating in all issues and solutions on how to "fix" them and help cope mechanisms.
Open minded, helpful, wise, observant, and honest #mental-health-counseling
Racheal Noble, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, NCC
I believe it's impossible to be human and not have experience anything to even think that you don't have a personal experience. At some point in your life you have experience rejection, symptoms of anxiety and depression, questioned your self esteem, had a bad relationship end that are typical of human life and error.
On the other end, you also as a provider have to be very clear if how much of these personal experience are invited into therapy as it can impede on the clinical relationships by lack of boundaries.
There is a level of knowledge that you will learn in training for how to use the theories and apply them to the therapeutic process. It makes the clinical experience professional as a physician providing medication for a patient.
I believe that as long as you are providing ethical and legal standards to the field when practicing and researching mental health services, that both personal and professional experience is relevant.
A separate issue is again about mental illness and the impact on individuals. Also that a diagnosis is not who the person is. I bring this up because of the stigma that unfortunately remains attached to any mental illness. This impacts some of the issues for the counselor who themselves have a diagnosis are, what if someone else finds out; do I disclose to the client, when and how much; what am I doing to take care of myself; and can I leave the clients' issues at the office. I myself have been in the field of mental health for over 45 years, prior to entering the field I have the diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and PTSD. However, for the first 10 years of my adult life, I was in the USAF and had to hide the fact that these existed or lose my Top Secret clearance and been kicked out of the service. Again each person is an presents an unique picture also about how they perceive what mental illness is and depending on that perception will be the impact on treatment.