Q:

What are the goals of counseling?

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There are different types of counseling, each with specific goals; however, a common goal is to get the person in treatment to a state of well being. In substance abuse counseling, the main goal is abstinence, or a completely substance-free life, according to the National Institutes of Health. Other related goals are to reduce the substance abuse and to prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of relapse.

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In couples counseling, the goals are to help the couple learn problem-solving skills so they can better resolve issues on their own, and to help the couple learn how to keep the emotional tone between them loving, instead of anger or anxiety filled, according to Dr. Susan Heitler, a psychologist who specializes in marriage therapy. In a nutshell, the doctor calls it "moving from conflict to resolution."

In group counseling, a small group meets in sessions to discuss various problems, with a group leader at the helm. This type of counseling is especially common on school campuses. Some of its goals include giving and receiving support, exploring solutions to problems, increasing observation and feedback skills, enhancing problem-solving skills, improving emotional expressiveness, decreasing social isolation and developing good communication skills, according to Cornell University.

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