In todays economy mental health issues have come into the mainstream in the news on a regular basis. As an example, Mental Health America reports that "about 20% of the U.S. population reports at least one depressive symptom in a given month, and 12% report two or more in a year". The National Institute of Mental health reports that "an estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older…suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any year." It is also known that many people suffer from more than one mental disorder as well. People are attempting to cope with the world as it is while they watch their homes being foreclosed upon, their jobs ending and everyday living expenses rising. More people are turning to mental health practitioners to help them sort out problems that they are having individually and as families. This is a time when new counselors can be of great help because there is such a great need. In order to prepare for any client, a new counselor must learn how to understand symptoms and identify the type of mental disorder that their clients are experiencing. In order to do this, they must rely on the DSM-IV and other methods of diagnosis.
One of the ways that students learn to become good therapists is by studying case studies. Most insurance companies will want a diagnosis and it should be accurate to the best of a counselors ability. Because of this it is important to practice using case studies and counseling theories in order to know what therapeutic approaches will work best for different mental disorders.
These narrative theories recognize humans as active agents in the construction of their own realities rather than simply existing in some objective reality…they encourage students to understand material for themselves rather than simply completing assignments or requirements. (p. 834).