Mental health professional
A mental health professional is a health care practitioner or community services provider who offers services for the purpose of improving an individual's mental health or to treat mental illness. This broad category was developed as a name for community personnel who worked in the new community mental health agencies begun in the 1970s to assist individuals moving from state hospitals, to prevent admissions, and to provide support in homes, jobs, education and community. These individuals (i.e., state office personnel, private sector personnel, and non-profit, now voluntary sector personnel) were the forefront brigade to develop the community programs, which today may be referred to by names such as supported housing, psychiatric rehabilitation, supported or transitional employment, sheltered workshops, supported education, daily living skills, affirmative industries, dual diagnosis treatment, individual and family psychoeducation, adult day care, foster care, family services and mental health counseling.
The category seldom includes psychiatrists (DO or MD) who remained institutional based and guarded the admissions procedures at institutionalization (both private and state specialty hospitals). However, in 2013, psychiatrists also are working in clinical fields with clinical psychologist including in sociobehavioral, neurological, person-centered and clinical approaches (often office-based), and studies of the "brain disease" (which came from the community fields and community management and are taught at the MA to PhD level in education). For example, Nat Raskin (at Northwestern University Medical School) who worked with the illustrious Carl Rogers, published on person-centered approaches and therapy in 2004. The term counselors often refers to office-based professionals who offer therapy sessions to their clients, operated by organizations such as pastoral counseling (which may or may not work with long term services clients) and family counselors. Mental health counselors may refer to counselors working in residential services in the field of mental health in community programs.
The invention of modern "mental health professionals"
In ancient history, priests were often called upon for advice and reassurance. In the mid to late eighteenth century there existed those who took it upon themselves to counsel others they felt were "deviant," "perverted," or "immoral." The modern-day "mental health movement" is part of the "new age" cult in the U.S., and emerged in the late 20th century.
How humans have managed to survive for 99% of human history without mental health professionals
Suddenly, in the 20th century, we find we need a group of people who call themselves "professionals" in "mental health," and charge large sums of money (often paid for by insurance companies) for their "services".
Humans naturally thrive in small- to medium-sized groups. Historically, humans have lived in tribes, with the care of children shared among all the tribes-people, while the mother remained the basic nurturer and "food provider" for her infants by breast-feeding them.
There was no such thing as the "nuclear family"--the tribe members were all relatives to each other, and the entire tribe was the "extended family." When someone found themselves worrying about something, they had many people to turn to for help and advice. Even the "crazy" people were usually tolerated as "seers" and "mystics," and not in need of counseling.
We now live in groups that often number in the millions, cut off from family and friends, performing menial labor in organizations that care little about our real well-being. Therefore, today's "mental health professional" could be described as a "rent-a-friend" for those lacking sufficient contact with others to find someone able to counsel them in their times of trouble.
The regulations regulating who may call themselves a "mental health professional" vary from place to place. In some places, a person simply hangs a sign outside their door, offers counseling, and then calls themself a "mental health professional"
In many jurisdictions, by law any "mental health professional" must report any suspicions of sexual activity between adults and minors. This has led to many BoyLovers avoiding any form of counseling.
- Important information may be found here on precautions to take when a BoyLover seeks counseling: