Human Services Guide
       
 

Clinical Mental Health Counselor Occupation

The Clinical Mental Health Counselor provides a valuable service to their fellow human beings in the form of highly skilled, consumer oriented therapy that combines traditional psychotherapeutic methods with concrete interventions that promote efficient changes in the client’s life. The primary method of Clinical Mental Health Counseling is providing very effective interventions that change how their client looks at situations and offers practical solutions in order to quickly resolve problems through and improved decision making process. This gives the client a practical set of tools to use in everyday life to overcome perceived problems and mental habits. Every state has a certification and licensure protocol that is fairly complex and should warrant contacting your states licensure or certification board to ensure that you are following the correct procedure to become licensed. As the Mental Health Counselor is in a very powerful position relative to their client there is the need to ensure that this profession is highly ethical and this is accomplished through the licensure process. As the Clinical Mental Health Counselor is a protected title it carries with it licensure requirements, but also a significant boost in potential earning power.

* NYU New York University - Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counselor performs a variety of tasks which include, but are not limited to:

  • The appropriate assessment and diagnosis of a client’s mental and emotional health
  • Creating and implementing treatments and interventions
  • Reviewing current interventions to ensure they are meeting psychotherapy goals
  • Psychotherapy in a variety of modalities
  • Therapy is goal oriented and designed to be brief and focused on resolving problems
  • Addiction and substance abuse counseling
  • Creating and implementing educational programs built around prevention
  • Managing of mental health crises

Clinical Mental Health Counselor Career to Services Human Beings

The Clinical Mental Health Counselor provides an extremely valuable service to their fellow human beings by offering a results oriented approach to mental health. Rather than seeking to perform a long term analysis of the client’s mental health problems, the Clinical Mental Health Counselor works with the client to find specific areas that are the most troublesome and find practical goal oriented solutions built around decision making. By providing the client with action oriented solutions to long standing problems, the Clinical Mental Health Counselor works with the client to immediately take steps in their life to accomplish long held goals and resolve previously insurmountable problems by examining decision making processes and implementing new methods. This has a profoundly transformative effect on the lives of clients.

Impact on Society

While the impact on society of the Clinical Mental Health Counselor may not be readily apparent, the subtle effect of many members of society positively changing their lives in personal ways can snowball into a society with much greater harmony. With individuals finding ways to function at their optimal level through practical decision making processes, the whole of society benefits as an ever increasing number of people are able to resolve their own issues and make a greater contribution to society as a whole. As some members of society become healthier there is a positive impact on both their home lives and families but also their work environment. Mental health of individuals quickly has a positive effect on everyone around them. While many may not be aware of the way in which the Clinical Mental Health Counselor impacts society, there is no question that their impact is not only positive, but also very significant.

Education and Degrees to Join The Workforce

In order to join the work force as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor you must first complete the necessary educational components to become licensed. To begin you will need to earn your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling, Psychology or a closely related field. Once you have attained your Bachelor’s degree you will need to then apply for and complete a Master’s program in Counseling from an institution of higher learning that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The licensure requirements for Clinical Mental Health Counselors vary from state to state, but tend to have the following requirements: A Master’s or Ph.D. in Counseling from an accredited school, an internship program as part of earning your degree, a minimum of 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience which must be completed within two years of beginning, passing the National Counselor Exam or similar sanctioned exam as issued by your state board, completing continuing education requirements of your state licensing board and adherence to standards of practice and code of ethics as prescribed by your state’s licensing board.

Salary Potential for Clinical Mental Health Counselors

There will always be variation in pay based on educational background, licensure, the agency you work for, seniority and the state and city you live in, the median average yearly salary of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor is of $38,150 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics1.

Next steps to Start a Mental Health Counselor Career

The first step you will need to take to begin your journey towards becoming a Clinical Mental Health Counselor is to earn you Bachelor’s degree in Counseling, Psychology or a closely related field. Once you have completed your Bachelor’s program you will need to apply for a Master’s program with a university or college that has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). After completing your Masters of Counseling you will need to contact your state’s Mental Health Counselor licensing board or body and determine your state’s requirements for licensure as they vary from state to state. This will always involve some amount of supervised clinical experience usually 3000+ hours of experience. During your Master’s program it is wise to begin finding an agency you can earn your supervised work experience hours in order to move into that directly after school. Once you have completed all the pre-requisites you can take your licensure exam and if you pass you will become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Finding the right school for you is the first step on a lengthy path towards becoming a Clinical Mental Health Counselor.

       
 
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