Mental Health Counselors
Also called: Clinician, Counselor, Mental Health Counselor, Therapist
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
Individuals struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse often need focused help to recover their well-being, and make changes in behavior that will improve their lives. Counselors offer the treatment and support that helps people recover. Substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors, teach clients how to cope with life’s problems without turning to substances, modify problem behaviors, help them rebuild relationships and, if necessary, reestablish their career. Mental health counselors treat clients with a variety of mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. They may specialize in a population such as students, children, or the elderly. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors work in a wide variety of settings, including mental health centers and hospitals, prisons, and addiction or eating disorder treatment centers. Although rewarding, the work can be stressful, with large workloads, and often limited resources. They also may have to intervene in crisis situations or work with disturbed clients. Most counselors work full time. In some settings, they may need to work evenings, nights, or weekends. All states require mental health counselors to be licensed, which requires a master’s degree, internship, and a period of professionally supervised practice. For substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor positions, educational requirements can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree. Licensure requirements vary by state and position, though all who work in private practice must be licensed.
What they do:Counsel and advise individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health, with an emphasis on prevention. May help individuals deal with a broad range of mental health issues, such as those associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; or aging.
On the job, you would:
- Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment.
- Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
- Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
Math and Science
- sociology and anthropology
- therapy and counseling
- customer service
- administrative services
Arts and Humanities
- English language
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
- understanding people's reactions
- looking for ways to help people
People and Technology Systems
- thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
- measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Self Control
- Concern for Others
- Stress Tolerance
You might use software like this on the job:
Internet browser software
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Netscape Navigator
- Client information database systems
- Patient electronic medical record EMR software