Mental Health Therapist Jobs & Career Guide

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Mental Health Therapist CareersWhat is a Mental Health Therapist?

Mental Health Therapists diagnose and treat mental illness. The therapist, or Counselor, works with clients who struggle with mental illnesses like depression, addiction, anxiety, chronic pain, bipolar disorder, or personality disorders. Mental Health Therapists also help clients dealing with family problems, including marital problems. The therapist discusses feelings and emotions with their clients and guides them to make decisions. They develop strategies to help them cope with their situation.  

Mental Health Therapists help people face the challenges in their life by providing compassionate discussion and helpful resources. They provide ongoing psychological care and consult with other mental-health professionals to help clients overcome difficult life events. The therapist promotes better mental health by working with individuals, couples, families, and groups to address emotional and mental disorders that prevent them from enjoying a healthy and fulfilled life.

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What is a Mental Health Therapist Responsible for?

Mental Health Therapists are responsible for assisting clients in understanding their illness and providing guidance to help them manage the challenges they face. A Mental Health Therapist spends a great deal of time in discussion with the client, helping them to talk through and manage their emotions and understand how their illness affects their decisions and general well-being. The therapist also spends time meeting with other health-care professionals and arranging access to community resources and programs that may help the client.

Mental Health Therapists should expect to work at any or all the following tasks:

  • Identifying individuals and groups who need help
  • Encouraging discussion of emotions and experiences
  • Assessing the individual’s situation and review their needs, strengths, and support systems
  • Offering encouragement and advice on how to achieve goals
  • Teaching relaxation techniques to help clients deal with stressful circumstances  
  • Examining issues affecting strong mental health, including bullying, anger management, aging issues, substance abuse, and relationships
  • Creating plans to improve situations for their clients
  • Researching community resources to determine those available and helpful to their clients
  • Working with families and friends to gain an understanding of their clients’ social network
  • Helping their clients define goals and strategies to achieve them
  • Applying a holistic mind and body approach to their clients’ mental-health care
  • Conducting interviews and follow-ups with clients to ensure the plan for improvement is effective
  • Maintaining accurate reports and records

Where Does a Mental Health Therapist Work?

Mental Health Therapists work with people in private practice and at community centers. They work with clients in all walks of life and in all social and economic classes. Mental Health Therapist Jobs are found at substance-abuse centers, hospitals, health-care organizations, and youth homes. Some specialize in working with children and others focus on working with those who have disabilities or addictions. Many Mental Health Therapists collaborate with other professionals such as Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and School Counselors to assist their clients.

What Other Career Options Are Available to a Mental Health Therapist?

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Mental Health Therapists help clients with a variety of social and lifestyle issues. The key function of a Mental Health Therapist is to be attentive to patient’s and guide them to develop an adaptive plan for coping with their problems. Compassion and dedication are the leading traits in this career choice. There are many positions across an array of industries for those interested in becoming a Mental Health Therapist.

A few career options available to those interested in this field include:

Federal and State Agencies – Mental Health Therapists assist many government agencies by providing timely and critical mental-health support. Patients who require highly specialized support are found at such places as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Office of Disability Affairs, and the Office of Elderly Affairs. Clients in these programs often suffer from mental-health issues that directly relate to their social or economic class. The Mental Health Therapist works with clients and other agencies to identify available resources and help ensure the needs of the clients are addressed.  

Substance Abuse Centers – Mental Health Therapists who specialize in substance abuse and addiction illness are in high demand. Chronic abuse of tobacco, alcohol, prescription, and illegal drugs can cause psychological and behavioral problems, and even death. Although serious enough on their own, these addictions and abuses often stem from bigger problems. The therapist works with their patients to uncover the reasons for the abuse. Mental Health Therapists who specialize in substance abuse work in many environments, including mental health and community centers, private practice, and hospitals.

Marriage and Family Therapist – Group dynamics in marriage and family often trigger problems for individuals, making it difficult for them to address and overcome issues. Mental Health Therapists provide an objective voice in helping couples and families understand the underlying issues that make up the root cause of their conflict. Therapists who specialize in family counseling can be found in private practice as well as community centers and health-care settings.

Crisis Intervention – Crisis intervention settings are highly challenging and very rewarding. This specialty requires a therapist who works well in stressful situations. The Mental Health Therapist often travels to a location on an emergency basis to offer evaluation, critical diagnostic assessment, and assessments of lethality or suicidal intention. Crisis intervention Therapists also work in hospital emergency departments, police departments, and disaster relief centers. They respond to emergency situations, offering counseling, diagnosis, referrals, and treatment plans to victims and survivors.

What Degree is Required to Become a Mental-Health Therapist? What Do They Study?

Most Mental Health Therapists start with undergraduate work, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling. A Bachelor’s degree introduces the student to topics of human development, cognitive development, counseling principals, social structures, and psychological theory. There are courses on statistical reasoning, history of psychology, abnormal psychology, and theories of personality. An internship provides students an understanding of problem solving, decision making, group dynamics, and interviewing techniques. Internships can help students further develop critical thinking and communication skills.

Students wanting to specialize in marriage and family counseling or clinical work often obtain a Master’s Degree in Counseling. They study ethical issues, theory and process, cross-cultural counseling, and human growth and development amongst other courses.  Students with a Master’s Degree can work in public schools, private practice, and substance abuse facilities.

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is typically sought by prospective scholars, educators, and researchers. A Doctorate degree is generally not required for most Mental Health Therapist specialties.  

How Much Money Does a Mental Health Therapist Earn?

Mental Health Therapists earn an average of $55,000 per year. The annual salary varies greatly by location, degree, and position. Substance abuse and crisis intervention counselors often earn less than the average annual salary.

Latest Mental Health Therapist Jobs & Career Guide Listings

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Position Company Location Posted
Clinical Screener, Integrated Assessment Program (38430) Northern Illinois University Illinois 02/01/2023
Position InformationPosting Detail InformationWorking Position Title Clinical Screener, Integrated Assessment Program (38430)Classification Title SpecialistPosition Number 00038430Open Date 10/31/2022Close DatePriority Review Date 12/15/2022Business Unit Description SPSFull-Time/Part Time Full-TimeFTE 1.00Position ... More
Licensed Mental Health Professional Focus Upward, LLC Lakewood, Colorado 01/31/2023
Do you want to work in private practice without have to deal with the business side? Would you like to work in a collaborative and balanced environment with other passionate mental health professionals? Focus Upward is hiring licensed clinicians throughout Colorado (PhD, PsyD, LCSW or Licensed Mental Health Counselor. We are an in person and telehealth practice based in Lakewood. We are very flexible with this hybrid model and value work/life balance. We want to work with you ... More
Staff Psychotherapist, Eating Disorders - (Staff Wage) University of Virginia Virginia 01/30/2023
The University of Virginia's Department of Student Health and Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is seeking to hire a part-time mental health professional for the position of Staff Psychotherapist: Eating Disorder Focus. This position will provide triage assessment, diagnostic and developmental evaluations, consultation for eating disorder referrals, individual and group therapy for eating and body image concerns, referral assistance, and crisis intervention. The position ... More
Clinician I-GH ABH Catholic Community Services of Western Washington Aberdeen, Washington 01/28/2023
Overview$27.61-$34.52 HR/DOEJoin our Team! We offer an excellent benefits package!3 weeks vacation * 12 days sick leave * 13 holidays* medical * dental* vision* life insurance * LTD * AD&D * pension * 403b * catastrophic & accident ins * This is a professional position providing therapeutic interventions to individuals with chronic mental health issues and their families with intensive behavioral health, crisis response, and community safety needs. Therapeutic ... More
Children's Support Specialist Mountain Home Montana Missoula, Montana 01/27/2023
Mountain Home is seeking a part-time Children's Support Specialist (Community Based Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Support Specialist or CBPRS) to provide assistance and support to Mountain Homes childrens programs to help families build social and emotional skills and connect them with their community. CBPRS services are adaptive skill-building and integration services provided in person in the home, school, or community settings in order to help individuals maintain participation ... More
Counselor, Athletics and Center for Well-Being University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chattanooga, Tennessee 01/27/2023
Anticipated Hiring Salary: $41,500-49,500 The Counselor will be a Mental Health Professional and a split role who works under the direction of the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine (50% of the time) to provide counseling for Student-Athletes and the Director of the Center for Wellbeing (50% of the time) to provide mental health and suicide prevention programs for the campus. In addition, this position will be responsible for the implementation ... More
Statewide Program Specialist Cancer Support Community MT Bozeman, Montana 01/27/2023
Job Summary: The Statewide Program Specialist plays a critical role in the strategic development, delivery, and management of programs across multiple program-delivery sites in Montana, including the virtual platform. This position is actively involved in CSC Montanas external relationships with healthcare providers and develops program policy to ensure standardization and excellence in the delivery of high-quality care. This includes ensuring that policies, procedures, ... More
Behavioral Health Consultant Toppenish Medical-Dental Clinic Toppenish, Washington 01/27/2023
Toppenish Medical-Dental ClinicLocationToppenish Medical-Dental ClinicCityToppenishEmployment duration:Full timeExempt Status:ExemptID:10827YVFWC has a compulsory vaccination policy including the Covid-19 primary series, the organization does not ... More
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