Everyone has something they are passionate about and excel at. Some people are great at cooking and some are great with numbers, but if you love helping other people, you should consider pursuing careers in mental health and counseling.
One of the most amazing things about pursuing a career in mental health is that it is so diverse and there are endless paths you can take to find the job that is perfect for you. Today we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about entering a career in counseling, including the types of categories in the mental health field, the different counseling approaches, and the different counseling niches you can branch out into.
Plus, we’ll talk about starting your counseling career, what education and licenses you need, and places you could work once you’re certified.
Mental Health Career Categories
While there are many different fields and niches you can enter in regards to counseling and mental health careers, there are three main categories:
Psychodynamics is the study of the psychological forces that cause emotions, behaviors, or feelings in an individual. In this field, the focus is to use different techniques and strategies to discover the childhood trauma that causes the person to have certain habits or behaviors in their adult life and find a way to get to the real root of the problem and find a solution that works. the individual.
For example, a person may compulsively bite their nails or clean themselves due to anxiety brought on by a traumatic experience in their past. The therapist will work with their client to do self-reflection and self-examination to discover why the problem started and how to fix it in a way that is ideal for them. Get a deeper understanding of psychodynamics here.
Behaviorism is a structured approach to understanding why people behave in specific ways and how the environment they have been exposed to can contribute to different behaviors. The goal of behavior therapy is to help patients eliminate negative behaviors and habits by replacing them with positive ones.
For example, if a patient sees a therapist struggling with an addiction or mental health disorder, the expert may decide to use cognitive behavioral therapy. They will help them identify negative thoughts, discuss them, and figure out why their patient feels that way, then replace them with positive thoughts until the negative thoughts are no longer relevant and affect the patient. Explore more about behaviorism here.
Humanistic psychology and therapy focus on helping patients become the best version of themselves. Therapists in this field will help their patients focus on the following categories: self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety, and psychological needs. The therapist will help his client find meaning in her life, teach her how to deal with past traumas that may be negatively impacting her full potential, and provide strategies for achieving everything she wants in her life. See the Humanistic Approach to Psychology for more information on this type of psychology and therapy.
Types of counseling approaches
There are various counseling approaches and practices that you can learn about, and each has its benefits and purposes. Here are some of the most widely practiced counseling approaches today:
- Hypnotherapy: A hypnotherapist takes patients to a very heightened state of focus and concentration to help them change specific things they want to change.
- Gestalt therapy: Help people to analyze their current life and look at past experiences with their opinion about them currently through the use of various techniques such as role-playing, guided fantasies and re-enactments.
- Constructivist Counseling: Help patients use their past experiences as learning tools to help them overcome and overcome current problems.
- Dialectical behavior therapy: Combining cognitive behavioral therapy with psychotherapy to help people identify their emotions and feelings and have healthy reactions and responses.
- Integrative multimodal approach counselling: Using multiple techniques to help a person as a whole rather than focusing on individual problems.
Where does counseling fit on the mental health career spectrum?
For many reasons, counseling is one of the most critical jobs in mental health. Anyone can have mental health problems, and nowadays it’s becoming more normal to talk about it and get the help they need openly. Counselors are one of the most effective tools for people struggling with mental health or other underlying issues. It can be constructive to talk to a qualified stranger with empathy and a willingness to help you assess your life, traumas, or past issues and find productive ways to reach your ultimate goal. Counseling is an essential career in the mental health field.
What education/qualifications do you need to become a mental health counselor?
A mental health counselor is a serious job that requires proper education so that people are prepared to help their patients through the most difficult situations. Each state has different requirements, although you’ll need to start by earning a bachelor’s degree in something related to counseling, like psychology or sociology. Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you will be able to earn a master’s degree in counseling. The specific type of counseling master’s degree will vary depending on the counseling field or niche you wish to enter.
What license is required to become a mental health counselor?
In addition to earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree, you will also need a license. Again, this can vary from state to state and can be different depending on what field you’re getting into. Still, you will normally need to take the National Counselors Examination (NCE) to start your career.
Types of advisory niches
There are numerous different niches in the counseling world that you can explore. These are some of the most common niches:
- Marriage and Family Counseling: Help families and married couples overcome their problems to communicate effectively and live a happy and healthy life.
- School Guidance Counseling: Help students find the career path that best suits them and provide them with the tools to achieve their goals.
- Counseling for children and adolescents: Help children and adolescents overcome mental health issues and navigate, cope with, and resolve other issues they are experiencing as they grow up.
- Behavioral Disorders Counseling: Teaching people strategies for finding new ways to behave to eliminate unwanted behavior and getting to the root cause of how it became the unwanted behavior.
- Rehabilitation Counseling: Help people with emotional and physical disabilities to live everyday life, maintain a career and be independent.
- Substance Abuse Counseling: Help people overcome their addictions by delving into the root of the addiction and providing them with better coping strategies to avoid future relapses.
- Faith-Based Counseling: Use professional counseling techniques to help people solve their problems through biblical teachings and help them find healing through God.
Where can you work as a counselor?
Promising counselors have many employment options once they complete all their education and licensure. Some of the places you could work as a counselor include, but are not limited to:
- Residential Care Centers
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Community Health Clinics
- telehealth providers
- Mental Health Clinics
- human service agencies
- Schools And Other Educational Institutes
- Non-profit organizations
- Rehabilitation centers
- Governmental agencies
- Private Practices
- Jails or Juvenile Detention Centers
Finding a career you are passionate about rather than the highest paying career is essential to a happy and fulfilling life. When you decide to do what makes you happy, you are much more likely to thrive and positively impact other people. The field of mental health is a great option for those who really want to help a lot of people in ways they don’t even know they need. With all the different areas, niches, and approaches to counseling and mental health work, there’s a career that’s right for your passion.