Careers

Mental Health Counselors

Also known as:  Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Mental Health Counselor

ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Mental health counselors help to make life better for people with mental or emotional problems. They start by listening to find out what's wrong. They're trained to help people talk about a wide range of issues, from depression to substance abuse and family tensions. In addition to advising their cl ...
ients, mental health counselors work closely with other specialists in their field.

For example, a patient might need to see a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication or be connected to a social worker who runs a support group. Many mental health counselors have private practices or work for agencies. Others are on staff at schools, senior citizen centers, and even corporations. They frequently work flexible hours, often evenings and weekends.

It's a profession with national standards for education, training, and clinical practice. Most states require some form of licensure or certification. The American Mental Health Counselors Association is the professional organization that oversees all counselors. Membership requires a master's degree in counseling, clinical work experience, and passing a license exam in the state where you plan to practice.

Mental health counselors need compassion and strength. It's not easy to listen to people struggling with serious problems, but knowing how to help them can be very rewarding.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse or improve community health or counseling services.
Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling programs on clients' progress in resolving identified problems and moving towards defined objectives.
Gather information about community mental health needs or resources that could be used in conjunction with therapy.
Discuss with individual patients their plans for life after leaving therapy.
Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting clients or patients.
Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.
Learn about new developments in counseling by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, or establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.
Refer patients, clients, or family members to community resources or to specialists as necessary.
Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
Meet with families, probation officers, police, or other interested parties to exchange necessary information during the treatment process.
Evaluate clients' physical or mental condition, based on review of client information.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Philosophy and Theology Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.