Step by step guide to becoming a therapist

There are many paths to becoming a therapist, depending on your career goals. The word therapist is just a general term for the many different types of healthcare professionals who specialize in providing mental health services. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, professional counselors and psychiatric nurses can all work as therapists. Education and training requirements vary depending on which path you pursue, but most therapists complete several years of graduate-level training after completing a bachelor’s degree program.

What does a therapist do?

Therapists work with individuals, families or couples to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders. They talk with their clients about how they’re feeling and how they react to certain changes in their lives. Therapists work with clients to affect change in their lives and future by teaching coping skills for specific situations. Therapists also communicate with other medical professionals for a well-rounded treatment protocol.

Most therapists work full time, and many offer flexible hours that fit their clients’ scheduling needs. In private practices, many therapists must work evenings and weekends to work around client work schedules.

What kind of skills are required?

Because they work one-on-one with individuals and families, therapists should have a good deal of compassion and interpersonal skills. They need to communicate well and be able to establish a good rapport with their clients. Good listening skills are essential since they are treating and managing care for clients through the information their clients give them. Therapists should be highly organized and be able to manage scheduling and insurance reimbursements, especially if working in a private practice.

The steps to becoming a therapist

  1. Complete an Undergraduate Degree program
  2. Complete a Graduate Degree program
  3. Complete licensing and certification requirements