What do Therapists Do?
The mental health industry has a variety of needs to help maintain the happiness and overall well-being of their patients. Therapists are an important part of the picture. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, halfway houses, mental health facilities, correctional facilities, schools and private outpatient centers all may require therapists of differing design. Therapists are expected to increase in demand annually on a nationwide basis over the next ten years. An increase of over 32% is expected by 2022 which equates to more than 1200 new jobs.
Therapists Skills and Abilities
You will be required to have above average customer service, listening and interpersonal skills. It’s the job of a therapist to make their patients feel at ease and comfortable sharing details about their personal lives. Additionally, you will need to be able to interpret the details of a person’s life and get at the root of their personal troubles. Finally, you must be able to provide firm support and advice for next steps to resolve issues, which means that you will need to be aware of available treatment options and facilities.
A therapist provides mental health help and support for those in need and therefore the set duties are extensive and in-depth. You will need to become someone your clients can trust so that they will open up to you about their issues. In a grand way, your job is mostly to listen. You may also need to help people make decisions and provide advice. Depending upon the specific industry or specialization your specific job duties may vary, but some of the things you may need to do are as follows:
- Work with other doctors and therapists to come up with a treatment plan that addresses all of your patients concerns
- Provide a safe place for clients to open up and talk about their issues
- Provide confidentiality, except where exceptions are required by law
- Record sessions, take notes and maintain client files
- Help clients to reflect on personal issues and find their own paths to change and resolution
- Refer clients to other therapies, when appropriate
Therapists Tools and Technology
Therapists are required to use computers, recording devices and general office technologies. As you will be required to maintain excellent notes and thorough client files, use of various basic office supplies are necessary. Therapists do not use specific tools as you might imagine for other jobs. Tools specific to a therapist are less tangible and relate to the skills and duties listed above.
Education and Training for Therapists
Depending upon which specific area of therapy you specialize in, there are various required levels of education. At minimum, a Bachelor’s degree will be required to enter into this field. A Masters or even a Doctorate may be required to work in Hospitals and other medical facilities. Therapists with higher degrees may be able to manage more complex cases and may even be able to prescribe medication, which translates to a more varied practice. A specialized degree will prepare you for specific areas of therapy such as:
- Masters of Social Work, which will prepare you to work as a licensed social worker
- Masters of Psychology, which will lead towards a doctoral degree to become a licensed psychologist
- Masters of Marriage and/or Family Counseling, a degree program that will prepare you for family therapy specialties
Therapists earn a median income across the US of $55,000 a year. Those with more education can make upwards of $90,000 in the upper 90% of those employed in these positions.
Therapists Jobs by Geography
The greatest demand for these positions exists in New York, Florida and Texas. Demand will likely increase the most in Puerto Rico, Wyoming and North Carolina over the next decade.