Minden Press-Herald

Sep 21st

MMC raises awareness of counseling benefits

Molly therapy

Minden Medical Center's Senior Care is pleased to help raise awareness this April regarding mental health counseling.

According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), April is observed as Counseling Awareness Month.

As an inpatient program serving the mental health needs of senior adults, Senior Care provides a holistic approach to treatment including the use of counseling therapy to assist patients with achieving optimal functional and cognitive outcomes.

Molly Dinkins, a Licensed Professional Counselor with the Senior Care Unit at Minden Medical Center, currently uses her skills to counsel geriatric clients in the inpatient Senior Care setting.

Dinkins utilizes individual counseling therapy to assist patients in a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life.

Dinkins said she believes that through individual counseling clients can learn to deal with many personal challenges in life such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship difficulties, and other unique challenges older adulthood brings.

In addition to individual therapy, group therapy is an equally important component of treatment for patients on the Senior Care Unit.

"Group therapy allows our patients to find they are not alone in their struggles," Dinkins said. "Through interacting with a group of peers, patients are able to increase their understanding of the issues they face and see the variety in the possible solutions available to those challenges."

Through the use of a combination of individual and group therapy, along with family counseling when appropriate, clients receive a well-rounded counseling program aimed at resolving treatment goals.

According to Dinkins, another important aspect of her role as a counselor is to set up appropriate follow-up care for patients who are discharged from the hospital setting.

"It is important that I help the client identify the resources they will need for success once they leave our program," she said. "I assist them in identifying those needs and educating them, and often their families, regarding this plan for continued care at discharge."

Having experienced explosive growth since it's beginnings as a profession, professional counseling licensure currently exists in all 50 states, and for counselors like Dinkins who serve to assist clients in reaching mental health goals, there is an equally beneficial relationship to her work.

"My clients inspire me, she said. "Every day I learn something new about life. Working with this generation has taught me about the humility, generosity, kindness, and perseverance that only comes with many years of life experience."

So what is counseling? The ACA defines Professional Counseling as a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

Professional Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client to help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health.

While professional counselors encompass a variety of settings including schools, universities, private mental health practice, residential facilities, hospitals, community agencies, businesses, industries, and government, there are four types of counseling typically provided across the range of settings.

These include individual counseling, family counseling, couples counseling, and group counseling. There are also several areas of specialty that counseling can encompass including child/adolescent counseling, addictions counseling, school counseling, marriage counseling, and gerontological counseling, just to name a few.

For more information about the counseling profession visit www.counseling.org, or contact MMC Senior Care to learn more about inpatient treatment services for senior adults at 371-5646.

MMC's Senior Care unit is a hospital-based approach to the treatment of adults 55 and older.

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