How Can Someone Become a Therapist
and Progress in That Career?
Are you considering a career change? One that not only provides great earning potential but also an opportunity to always be learning and growing while simultaneously helping others in need. If your answer is yes then it’s time to look into how to become a therapist. 2020 has put a strain on mental health more than ever and therapists are in high demand.
If this career path is a particular interest of yours, read on for our full guide on everything you need to know before taking the plunge to become a therapist.
Personal Skills Required
While there are plenty of skills that can be learned on the job or during training, however, there are some personal skills that simply can not be taught that are essential to possess for any good therapist...
To be a good therapist, you need to enjoy interacting with others while also feeling energised when talking about emotional issues and have a healthy interest in others and their past experiences. Developing a close bond with clients is crucial to helping them as best you can.
—Being a Good Listener
Anyone can sit in a room with someone who needs professional help and allow them to talk but it takes certain skills to really be able to listen to them. Being able to attentively listen to a client is more important than advice or analysis in a session.
—Ability To Think Analytically
A keen interest in the human mind and how it works is imperative. A thirst for wanting to solve an issue and piecing together information from character traits and other experiences. Being able to retain information in high detail will provide a basis for a great therapist.
—Enjoy Helping People
Being a natural ‘do-gooder’ is a personal trait that can not be forced if you get a thrill out of helping others and fighting for social justice, then becoming a therapist might be the best new career for you.
—Been In Their Shoes
While having experienced mental health issues or past trauma yourself is not an essential skill, it can help. While reading and learning about disorders can provide vast insight, it is not anything like having experienced it yourself. If you have struggled with depression, anxiety, PTSD or any other mental health disorder can help you understand and empathise more with clients, while they may also feel they are able to trust you more if you have walked in their shows.
What Do Therapists Do?
Therapists are professionals who help people with mental health disorders, this can be a diagnosed condition or simply someone who is struggling.
It’s important to remember that therapists do not ‘cure’ their patients, instead they help people to understand their condition and learn how to cope with it. Most mental health conditions can stay with a person for life, so it’s crucial they learn how to deal with their symptoms and not allow them to dramatically impede on their life.
How To Be A Therapist
The most traditional avenue to becoming a therapist is to undertake a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, followed by a master’s degree in psychology. This will then lead to a clinical internship with the eventual application for a license to practice.
However, there are avenues you can take to train that are faster and cheaper than this formal form of education.
Life coaching is a part of therapy that has become essential to so many patients. There are many different bodies who can provide you with training to become a life coach. These courses can take up to 100 hours to complete and vary in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the level of certification you want to acquire.
Life coaches aren’t fully trained therapists, they are unable to treat those with a psychological illness but they can help those with dysfunctional thought patterns. While life coaches may not be able to help with some cases, they are vital to many clients and can make a real positive impact.
Hypnotherapy is another profession that doesn’t require a degree in psychology. They can help patients cope better with irrational thoughts, such as fear and adverse emotions or even something smaller such as quitting unhealthy habits, like smoking or poor diets.
The life of a therapist can be both rewarding and taxing. While the feeling of helping someone in need can be elating, it’s important to remember that you may have to listen to many traumatising stories from clients, especially those who have suffered from any form of abuse or witnessed a distressing event, such as those who have served in the armed forces. Many therapists elect to have therapy themselves, even if they are not suffering immediately, over time, bearing the burden of hearing these stories can take its toll on your own mental health.
It’s one thing being a supportive and empathic person, but you also need to be strong-minded and know when to seek help yourself.
With all the above in mind, you should now have a better understanding of the role of a therapist and if this is one for you.