Did you know that 1 in every 25 people in the United States suffers from a severe mental health issue?

Puzzle jigsaw heart on brain, mental health concept, world autism awareness day

Mental health problems are more common than the average person realizes, and the demand for mental health professionals such as therapists has never been higher. Being a therapist might be your calling if you’re looking for a career path that can positively influence others and even potentially transform their life for the better. 

What does a therapist do?

Therapists help their clients with interactions with people around them. Problems with significant others, social circles, and anxiety in a personal or professional environment are just some of the things therapists can help their patients with.

How to become a therapist

Therapy is a highly fulfilling career path with great flexibility and work-life balance. Moreover, it is a dynamic career path with many specialties, each focusing on a different area of expertise, such as clinical therapy or family therapy.

Doing homework on every career path offered in therapy is essential to determine which specialty better suits your personal goals and objectives. We present a list of in-demand and highly rewarding therapist career paths for your consideration. Keep scrolling if you want to learn more about what therapy offers.

1. Family Therapist

Family therapy, often referred to as marriage and family therapy addresses the behavioral patterns within a family or between significant others. Therapists examine the complex relationship dynamics between the parties involved to provide solutions to strengthen bonds between the clients and help with their mental health. Family therapy sessions can have a long-lasting and meaningful impact on patients’ lives.

If you’re passionate about reconciling differences among families and significant others, here’s how to become a family therapist: earn a bachelor’s in psychology and then pursue your masters degree in family therapy or a graduate degree in psychology, therapy, or counseling. After that, all there’s left to do is earn some clinical experience and apply for a state license to practice as a professional family therapist.

2. Behavioral Therapist

Behavioral therapy treats various mental health issues by identifying and correcting problematic or toxic behavior patterns. Behavioral therapists provide patients with mental resources and coping mechanisms to help them deal with negative thoughts and behaviors and empower them to make more positive decisions. These mental health resources can help patients overcome and better manage their fears, anxiety, and other mental health challenges they may face every day.

Behavioral therapists work with patients to learn about their challenges and struggles, their harmful behaviors, and the problematic thinking patterns they want to overcome to achieve their goals. The role involves developing problem-solving strategies, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and training, to enhance the patient’s quality of life.

For most behavioral therapy positions, all you need is a bachelor’s in social work or a related field, along with some clinical work experience. However, some roles call for a master’s education and professional certification; lastly, earning a clinical license will allow you to legally practice your profession in your state.

3. Clinical Therapist

Clinical therapists, or clinical counselors, work with people with various mental health disorders, such as substance abuse, psychological well-being, emotional disorders, social concerns, and interpersonal conflicts. Clinical therapists, like behavioral therapists, assist patients in coping with and ultimately resolving difficulties rooted in mental health disorders. However, clinical therapists do more than merely help their patients with their challenges; they also address the root causes of those problems.

The role involves diagnosing patients with mental health issues and developing effective treatments. They work with other mental health professionals and social workers to deliver the most optimal care to their patients. Clinical therapists can also direct patients to inpatient centers and other community resources.

The core requirement to become a clinical therapist is earning a master’s in mental health counseling and relevant clinical experience. In addition, to get the state practice license, you must complete a 3000-hour clinical training under supervision within two years after graduation.

4. Substance Abuse Therapist

Substance abuse therapists, or addiction therapists, help people struggling with their dependence on alcohol or other substances. 

They see clients one-on-one or in groups and carry out other counseling responsibilities. Group therapy allows those in recovery from addiction to support and encourage the recovery of one another. They ensure the patient’s privacy throughout the session, help them identify the effects of their addiction, and collaborate with the client to create a plan for breaking the cycle of addiction.

The role involves working closely with patients to diagnose and address any underlying problems that may be causing or exacerbating their addictions. Therapists also help the loved ones of addicts by informing them about the problem, getting them to attend treatment with their loved ones, and encouraging them to make positive changes in their loved one’s behavior.

Addiction therapists help patients work through any underlying emotional problems that may have contributed to their dependency. The end goal of addiction therapy is to assist patients in overcoming addiction and maintaining sobriety.

A master’s in counseling or a related psychological field is necessary to land this role. You can also earn the certification from National Board for Certified Counselors to enhance your counseling resume. Lastly, earning a state license is vital to practice legally.

5. Child Therapist

Child therapists help children, including toddlers and teens, cope with their emotional struggles. They diagnose and address behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and psychological issues in children using language and play.

They are licensed professionals who have completed education and training to work with children and adolescents (those under the age of 17) experiencing emotional, behavioral, or mental health difficulties. The role involves identifying, examining, and resolving children’s emotional, developmental, cognitive, behavioral, and psychological problems.

A master’s degree in social work or other counseling-related fields and relevant clinical experience are the minimum requirements to become a child therapist. In some states, it is also necessary to pass the jurisprudence exam.

Bottom Line

Therapy is a gratifying career with diverse career paths suited to different personalities and temperaments. Reviewing your options is vital to determine which career path is the best fit for you. Consider the above-discussed five career paths before making your decision. For example, if you’re a problem solver, family therapy might be a good choice. Or, if you love working with children, consider pursuing a career in child therapy.