The field of mental health is one that is expected to see a great amount of growth in the coming decade. This is generally attributed to the fact that society as a whole is becoming more accepting and aware of mental health conditions and how they can be treated. Breakthroughs in research are happening all the time, leading medical experts to a better understanding of the various types of mental health conditions and the levels in which they can affect people on a case-by-case basis.
With so much growth, there is going to be an increased need for qualified mental health professionals. While there are many career paths and options available to those who wish to have a career in the mental health field that can be attained from training on the job, many require study. However, what career options are available to you after you have completed your studies?
1. Family Services
Family therapy or family counseling is an area of mental health practice that provides counseling services to families in efforts to assist in opening up the lines of communication between the members of a family as well as offering help with certain problems. Such problems include substance abuse issues, divorce, or points of stress within a family unit.
It can be difficult for members of a family to open up to one another in certain cases, particularly when one member of a family feels misunderstood or underappreciated by the rest. A therapist working in family services might also wish to work as a couples therapist. In this role, the therapist is there to help find better ways of communicating between couples and facilitating discussions about difficult or stressful matters within a relationship. Anything from trust issues to money problems can be areas of stress for a couple, and when such issues start to inhibit the relationship on the whole, a therapist can offer helpful methods of resolving issues.
To really boost your chances of securing such a role, undertaking a Master’s in Clinical Counseling will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice at a higher level. A therapist taking this further study learns how to effectively facilitate healing and the repair of damaged or broken relationships through counseling sessions that include the whole family.
2. Community Mental Health Team Member
If you desire, after study, you can become further qualified to work on a community mental health team (CMHT). This is a team that is comprised of a number of mental health professionals whose goal it is to cater to the mental health needs within a particular community.
There are a few different types of CMHTs that deal with various stages of mental health concerns. Some are designed to address mental health crisis situations while others are geared more towards early prevention within the community. As a member of such a team, you are expected to engage with those in the community who are in need of mental health services and help to build an overall better community from a mental health standpoint.
3. Substance Abuse Center Therapist
One area of mental health that is always in need of empathetic and qualified mental health professionals is that of substance abuse. Alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and addiction all fall under the umbrella of substance abuse. Hospitals and private centers alike employ substance abuse therapists in order to help those struggling with such issues to overcome them and break free of their addictions.
While this is surely one of the more challenging areas of mental health, it is also one that serves a greater purpose. It is the job of other medical professionals to cater to the physical needs of a substance abuse sufferer and the job of a therapist to assist in the complex and often deep-rooted emotional and mental issues that typically accompany addiction. A therapist who wishes to work in this field will need to be equipped with patience, kindness, and the right training in order to best serve and help those who are in a position of seeking help for their substance abuse issues.
4. Private Practice
Among the many options that is available after study is that of owning and operating your own private practice. In the capacity of a private practice therapist, you can choose to assist patients suffering from a specific type of mental health condition or work to address more general mental health issues such as anxiety or stress.
While this route gives you a great degree of flexibility with your schedule, bear in mind that it isn’t the easiest route to take. You will be taking on a greater level of responsibility as a small business owner and should ensure that you are aware of all of the complex compliance issues that are in place for those who operate mental health clinics. Such regulations tend to vary from state to state, so make sure that you do your due diligence and set up your practice in compliance with the laws and rules in place.
Once you decide upon the type of services you are going to offer and have your business set up in compliance with the necessary regulations, you can embark upon an incredibly rewarding career in mental health.
After studying counseling, you have a variety of options at your disposal. Some may require additional studying or qualifications, but it will help you in the long run. Whichever direction you choose to take, know that this will be a worthwhile career choice as you help others.