A master’s degree, however, can help a prospective counselor find work more easily.
A mental health counselor should have a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling or a related field (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).
Formal education is followed by supervised clinical hours of direct experience before one can become licensed as a therapist.
This means that if one already has a bachelor’s degree, it is a matter of four to ten years before they can be licensed as a therapist.
Every one of these positions requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, and in a few cases (particularly counseling positions) that alone is enough to start practicing. There can be overlaps, and we generally think of them all as professionals who help people with their problems.
Most of these positions, however, require prospective therapists to also go on to earn their master’s degree in psychology or a related field, at which point they can become licensed and start practicing if they have accrued enough supervised clinical experience. While psychologists can also be therapists, the two careers are not interchangeable.What a therapist does depends largely on the type of therapist they are.For example: What a therapist does greatly depends on what type of therapist they are, and what their clinical orientation is.At its base, the job of a therapist generally consists of helping someone improve their levels of well-being, improving their functioning in different areas of life, whether emotional, relational, occupational, physical, or mental.Some of the qualities that are helpful for therapists to have include (in alphabetical order): analytical skills, communication skills, compassion, flexibility, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, listening skills, observational skills, organization, patience, resourcefulness, speaking skills, and writing skills, to name just a few (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).Therapists need to be observant, so they can hear things that are not explicitly stated by the client.This requires therapists to be resourceful and flexible so that they can treat their clients in an individualized way based on what their clients need and are able to do.Fundamentally, therapists help people overcome their problems.These problems can come in a wide variety of forms and can include substance abuse problems, interpersonal problems with family members or coworkers, or behavioral disorders.A psychologist has a higher degree than that of a therapist, although many psychologists use their higher credential to practice therapy.In general, psychologists have the highest educational requirements and are held to the highest ethical standards, followed by therapists, then counselors (Human Services Edu, 2017).