Mental health counselors are healthcare workers who treat, and may even diagnose, mental health problems and illnesses. These counselors are typically state-certified, and requirements for the position often include master's-level education in counseling or human psychology; however, they are not always psychiatrists or psychologists aside from counseling. In any case, they employed primarily in hospitals and dedicated mental health or addiction clinics which value their versatility highly.
Mental health counseling consists primarily of assisting patients who are working through psychological difficulties and/or illness. This may include either curative counseling or helping patients through new approaches to thinking in order to work around or resolve existing issues. Mental health counselors may provide care in one-on-one settings, but many lead group counseling sessions, as well.
Some mental health counselors specialize in particular areas. Juvenile detention centers, for example, may employ counselors who specialize in young adult therapy, while jails/prisons may employ counselors to help inmates work through issues which may have led to criminal behavior in the first place. Counselors can also specialize in addiction therapy and even senior care, among other areas.
To work in this field, one should typically have at least an undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology, or a related field and any required certifications for mental health counseling. Most mental health counselors work in a clinical or office environment during traditional weekly business hours.
Mental Health Counselor Tasks
Maintain accurate required documentation of patient care.
Counsel clients to promote optimal mental health, individually and in group sessions.
Design and implement treatment plans.
Assesses patient mental status and problems through interviews and observations.