Mental health clinicians help treat and diagnose individuals who have (or may have) any psychological issues. They work with patients directly using many different techniques, including evaluating patients, conducting therapy sessions (either individual or group), advocating for their patient, and attending court hearings on behalf of their patient. Mental health clinicians may work with individuals dealing with a number of difficult issues, such as addiction, relationship violence, and many different types of trauma.
Depending on the patient, different approaches are used by clinicians. For this reason, it is important that all mental health clinicians are able to understand clients' needs and how to best help them. In addition, it is important that they have excellent communication and listening skills. They must also be organized and up to date on current best practices in their area of expertise. Additionally, dealing with patients requires a great deal of compassion.
Along with these skills, most states require mental health clinicians to meet an educational requirement. They generally need to have a master's degree in social work with an emphasis on clinical study, therapy, or a related course of study. Without this training, they are not allowed practice or help others. It is also preferred that they have worked 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience with a licensed clinician, which in some cases is obtained in a post-master's programs. Additionally, they need proof of a license to be able to practice. This can either be a registration notice or an actual license issued by the state in which they practice. This license generally must state what specific area the clinician is in (such as intern, therapist, and social worker).
Mental Health Clinician Tasks
Participate in peer reviews and trainings, including making presentations.
Connect clients to services, support and resources.
Counsel clients during emergency and crisis events.
Work directly with clients to assess health, create plans and evaluate progress.
Visit clients at work, home or social settings to assess progress.