If you possess high energy and a will to help others, mental health therapy may be the right track for you. As a mental health therapist, you will be performing a lot of activities to help patients handle their stress and depression, along with providing them with the support they need to face their demons.
Most mental health therapists work in conjunction with psychologists and psychiatrists. After the initial assessment, a mental health therapist may decide that he wants to refer his patient on – or keep him for further evaluation and treatment. It is important for mental health therapists to be mentally sound themselves as they have to deal with emotional rollercoaster rides on a daily basis. A degree (bachelors or masters depending on specific requirements of the employing facility) in psychology is important if you want to be eligible to work as a mental health therapist.
The main quality of a mental health therapist is to be able to listen intently and not pass judgement. Ability to follow devised treatment plans and monitor patients’ progress is important in this role. Additionally, a mental health therapist is required to diagnose mental health illnesses and advise his patients on the best possible treatment plans.
Other important duties of a mental health therapist include:
• Interview clients’ families to obtain information regarding their medical and mental health histories
• Engage clients into conversation to determine their mental health status and create correlating notes
• Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences and derive meaning from them
• Examine specific issues such as drug abuse, bullying, anger management, aging and stress to determine correct courses of action
• Assist clients in defining goals, planning action and gaining insight into their problems
• Develop and implement specific therapeutic processes to meet the individual requirements of each client
• Assess clients to determine if they can be helped with counseling and refer them to psychiatrists or psychologists if they cannot
• Guide clients in the development or skills and strategies in coming to terms with or dealing with their circumstances
• Maintain treatment and client records in a safe and confidential manner
• Refer clients to community resources or specialists when necessary and ensure that they are being followed up on them properly
• Counsel family members to assist them in understanding and supporting clients appropriately
• Evaluate the effectiveness of treatment plans and tweak them to meet the varying requirements of each client