Mental health therapists are trained professionals who counsel individuals, families, and groups to identify and work through the problems that a person is facing. These professionals help their patients deal with stress, substance abuse, addictions, low self-esteem and grief.
Some of them specialize as marriage counselors and career counselors. These professionals work with other mental health specialists like psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and school counselors to promote emotional and mental health of their patients.
These therapists work though observation, interviews, and tests, to gather information and identify the problems of a person. Based on their observation they decide the right type of therapy for the person. These professionals counsel their clients and help them make informed decisions about themselves, their lives, and their relationships.
They help their patients to analyze their problems and address various issues. These therapist also carry out mental health evaluation and risk assessment of their patients when required. They also monitor the treatment of their patients by maintaining accurate records and documents.
Mental health therapy is a holistic approach that takes into account a person’s external and societal influences, while also considering his physical and emotional health. To fulfill the requirements of the job, one first needs to get a master’s degree in mental health counseling with a certification or license in a specialty like:
- Educational, school, or career counseling
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Marriage and family counseling
- Substance abuse counseling
Most of the master’s degrees are a two-year program. Apart from this, the person is also required to complete an internship during this period. This internship involves, working with people and gaining hands-on experience in the field. For better career opportunities, one may get a doctoral degree in mental health counseling or related field.
Choosing the Right Therapist
Mental health problems often stem from deeply personal and often painful episodes. Due to such a personal nature of the problem, it is very important that one is careful while looking for the therapist. Refer to your physician first to confirm that the symptoms are not caused due to a medical problem.
Getting referrals will be a great help in finding the therapist. Ask your friends, family members or medical health professional for reference. While considering a therapist, be sure to check his certification. Also, confirm if he has relevant experience in treating people with problems similar to yours. Go to him only if you are satisfied with the findings.
According to a survey done by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2017 the median salary that mental health counselors earned was $43,300. The highest earnings are made by those who are self-employed and work in well established practices. It takes almost 5 years for mental health therapists to develop a private practice after getting a license.