Mental health counselor is a specialist who has the authority to provide diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of mentally ill patients. They are responsible for diagnosing and providing support and medical care to people in the hospital, home or other health care settings related to mental health conditions. The main role of these specialized counselors is to evaluate a patient’s mental health, form a plan of counseling treatment and implement psychotherapeutic measures to treat them. Let us have a look at the mental health counselor education requirements.
Mental health counselor education requirements needed
To be a mental health counselor, you need to go through a rather rigorous amount of schooling. The entire process requires obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and finally entering into a Doctorate or Ph.D. program. You may earn a degree in psychology, sociology, social work or any other subject related to social sciences. The college you choose should be accredited by the
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
The program comprises of both clinical and theory classes and includes topics like mental health counseling strategies, psychotherapy, family structure of mental health patients, ethics in psychology, etc. During the classroom classes, you learn how to get your clients to open up to you and how to identify and categorize various issues related to mental or emotional health issues. The curriculum for mental health counseling also covers addiction and drug abuse. The educational requirements may vary from state to state.
To practice as a mental health specialist, you need to do some field work by taking some additional training after completing your studies. It can be an internship or residency program where you spend at least 1,500 to 2,000 hours working in clinical settings. The training is supervised by licensed therapists.
Licensing and certifications
The mental health counselor education requirements are incomplete without a State license. After the completion of your studies and training, you need to pass a background test and license examination. The professional counseling examination is authorized by State.
You need to renew your license by participating in continuing education. This may include attending lectures, classes, and complete research papers.
A mental health therapist should have some necessary skills to build a rapport with their patient. They should possess good interpersonal skills, communication and analytical skills and critical thinking skills to evaluate the situation and develop the plan of treatment. The therapist should be prepared to work with difficult and sometimes combative patients.