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).
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.
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.
In most cases, becoming a therapist will take at least around seven to fifteen years following graduation from high school.
Most therapists need a bachelor’s degree (which takes four years to earn on average), and then a master’s degree (which takes about two to three years on average to earn) or a doctoral degree (which takes about five to seven years on average to earn).
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Since therapists can help a wide variety of people, there are several specializations within the profession.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).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.In other words, a therapist needs to be able to communicate effectively with a client to be able to figure out what the client is looking for from a therapy session.This requires patience and listening skills as therapists need to understand what a client’s problem consists of before they can start treating it.Regardless of the type of counselor one wants to be, most regions require additional licensing.This licensing is made up of hours (around 2,000 to 4,000 in some cases) of supervised counseling experience along with passing a test.Bachelor’s degrees are necessary for anyone looking to enter a master’s degree program.To become a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor, one usually only needs a bachelor’s degree (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).