If you’re interested in the world of mental health, you may be intrigued about becoming a therapist. When you want to help people, being a mental health professional a great profession. There’s a difference between a therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist, all of which are essential players in the world of mental health care. A therapist is someone who works with people or groups and helps them maintain stable mental health. It’s not as easy as being a good listener or having an empathetic nature; becoming a therapist is hard work. There are steps involved in being a therapist that allows them to help others as a mental health professional.
How to Become a Therapist
You might be wondering how to become a therapist? First, you need to get training in the mental health field. Therapists attend college and study psychology and human behavior. It’s not just about reading books; it’s about the want to learn about how human beings tick. You can have all the education you want, but you have to be passionate about helping others. Before going into university, you’ll have to complete high school or receive a GED and look into undergraduate psychology programs at universities that you’d like to attend. After completing your undergraduate education, you’ll probably go into graduate school. When you’re in undergraduate courses, you must choose which specialty you’d like to go into so that you can prepare yourself for your graduate program and supervised training.
What Kind of Therapist do you Want to be?
Maybe, you want to work with children, or perhaps you’re interested in adult psychiatry. Some would like to become marriage and family counselors. When you’re studying for your undergraduate degree, it’s good to think about the population you’d like to help. You might take a variety of psychology courses to see what resonates the most with you to help you figure out who you want to work with in the future and what kind of psychology interests you the most. You might not know precisely what kind of therapist you want to be or what type of therapy you want to practice, but undergraduate is a great time to explore and start thinking about what you want to do.
After you’ve graduated from undergraduate and graduate school, you need to apply for licensing in the state you’d like to practice in. You need to complete a number of supervised hours under the eye of someone who is seasoned in the field and has extensive clinical experience. Depending on the state that you’re pursuing a license to practice in, the number of hours of supervised training that you have to complete will differ. It’s essential to have a supervisor watching you and to take advantage of the time you take to pursue your license because they can provide insight into ways that you can improve your skills.
Do not underestimate the process of networking when you become a therapist. You want to talk to other professionals, make connections within the field, and get the invaluable insight that other mental health professionals have to offer. You can learn all you want by reading books about psychology, but talking to people who have been in the thick of it is extremely important.
Types of Therapy You Can Practice
- Family therapy, where you work with family members and help them maintain strong bonds.
- Substance abuse treatment, where you help those who suffer from addiction.
- Group therapy, where you help members of a group work towards a common goal. This could be in a DBT group, a group in a residential treatment facility, or it could be something that you offer yourself as a therapist with a private practice.
- Individual therapy, where you work with an individual one on one to work on their specific goals. There are many kinds of therapy that you can practice with an individual, including CBT, trauma therapy, and more.
Self-care as a Therapist
It’s crucial to practice self-care when you’re a therapist. You need to take care of yourself first, like the old saying, “put on your oxygen mask before you take care of others.” When you’re not treating others, it’s vital to take time to do things that you enjoy. Spend time with friends, go to the movies, go outside, or anything else that brings you joy and clears your mind. You don’t have to be a therapist for everyone that comes into your life. They’re not paying you, and you don’t have to maintain the mental health of anyone but yourself and your clients. Your clients are your clients, and your friends are your friends. Part of becoming a therapist is learning firm boundaries, and knowing that you can’t be your loved one’s therapist, you can be there to support them. If they need mental health treatment, they must seek it from another mental health professional who is an unbiased party.
Therapy for Therapists
Therapists deserve to maintain mental stability, like anyone else. Part of being a good therapist is being able to receive therapy yourself when you need it. You need someone to express your thoughts and feelings, and one way to do that is to enter online therapy. Online therapy is an excellent place to express your thoughts and feelings and gain the support that you need.