How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (2023)

How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (1)If you want to become a therapist but are not sure where to start, you have come to the right place.

While there are several different types of therapists, psychologists, and counselors (distinctions which we will address in this article), the path to each profession is similar.

In the United States these positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, and in a few cases (particularly counseling positions) that alone is enough to start practicing.

If you intend to practice in another country, be sure to research the qualifications you’ll need to practice the type of therapy you’re interested in.

In the United Kingdom, the British Association for Counselling and Therapy is a great resource to find out which qualifications are required for which careers and where/how you can obtain them.

Similarly, in Australia, the Australian Psychological Society would be a great place to start your research.

Most of these positions, however, require prospective therapists to also go on to earn their master’s degree in psychology or a related field, at which point they can become licensed and start practicing if they have accrued enough supervised clinical experience.

Earning a Ph.D. or Psy.D. will make prospective therapists more desirable candidates, but it is not necessary to begin practicing.

Before you continue, you might want to check out our digital guidebook, ‘On Becoming a Therapist’ (Fully updated in 2021). This in-depth, step-by-step guide contains all the information you need to make informed decisions about your future while turning your interest in becoming a therapist into meaningful action. Click here to check it out.

This Article Contains:

  • Do You Need to Be a Psychologist as a Therapist?
  • Education Required to Be a Psychologist
  • Counseling Degree Requirements
  • What Kinds of Therapists Are There?
  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Therapist?
  • What Does a Therapist Do?
  • What Makes a Good Therapist?
  • How to Become a Psychotherapist
  • How to Become a Behavioral Therapist
  • How to Become a CBT Therapist
  • How to Become a Recreational Therapist
  • How to Become a Child Therapist
  • How to Become a Family Therapist
  • How to Become An Occupational Therapist
  • A Take-Home Message
  • References

Do You Need to Be a Psychologist as a Therapist?

The difference between psychologists, therapists, and counselors is an important one to define, as some people think careers are identical. There can be overlaps, and we generally think of them all as professionals who help people with their problems.

While psychologists can also be therapists, the two careers are not interchangeable. A psychologist has a higher degree than that of a therapist, although many psychologists use their higher credentials to practice therapy.

In general, psychologists have the highest educational requirements and are held to the highest ethical standards, followed by therapists, then counselors (, 2015). Since therapists are regulated at the regional level while psychologists have more standardized career paths, some therapists might be as qualified as psychologists while others might not be.

It might also be easier to find a therapist suited to your needs (for example, marriage and family therapists) than it is to find a psychologist specifically suited to your needs.

As for counselors, there is a wide range of educational requirements and ethical standards for counselors. Some might be licensed and just as qualified as a therapist, while others might be unlicensed or less educated. In order to call oneself a therapist, one must possess either a master’s or a doctoral degree. Some counseling titles require a masters degree, while some do not.

Find more information on the distinctions between coaching, mentoring and counseling here.

Education Required to Become a Psychologist

To put it simply, most psychologists have either a Ph.D. in psychology or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022a). To distinguish between the two, a Ph.D. is completed with research towards a dissertation, while a Psy.D. is based more on clinical work.

While all of these tracks require a bachelor’s degree, some psychologist jobs (such as a school psychologist) can be obtained with a master’s degree without needing a higher degree.

A Ph.D. or Psy.D. usually takes at least five years to complete. During this time there is generally a research or practicum component, and a required number of supervised clinical hours. This is the longest track to practicing as a therapist, but the job prospects are generally the best, as this is the highest credential one can earn.

Some types of psychologists require extra levels of education. For example, school psychologists might require an education specialist degree (Ed.S.) before they can start working in certain schools and a supervised internship (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022b).

For more information on how to become a psychologist, have a look at our Positive Psychology Degree article.

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Do you want to be a therapist? – Kati Morton

Counseling Degree Requirements

Degree requirements for prospective counselors depend on what type of counseling one wants to do. To be a school or career counselor, one usually needs a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, with a specialization in career or school counseling (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022b). Many regions also prefer school counselors to have teaching experience before getting licensed.

To become a rehabilitation counselor, one needs a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022c). Some schools offer five-year programs where prospective counselors can earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

Bachelor’s degrees are necessary for anyone looking to enter a master’s degree program.

To become a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor, one usually only needs a bachelor’s degree (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022d). A master’s degree, however, can help a prospective counselor find work more easily. A mental health counselor should have a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling or a related field (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022d).

Regardless of the type of counselor one wants to be, most regions require additional licensing. This licensing is made up of hours (around 2,000 to 4,000 in some cases) of supervised counseling experience along with passing a test.

For more information on counselors, follow these links:

What Kinds of Therapists Are There?

How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (3)Since therapists can help a wide variety of people, there are several specializations within the profession.

This includes psychotherapists, behavioral therapists, cognitive-behavioral therapists, interpersonal therapists, mindfulness-based therapists, recreational therapists, child therapists, marriage and family therapists, and occupational therapists.

Many of these therapists positions have similar educational and career paths, but some have specific requirements as well.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Therapist?

In most cases, becoming a therapist will take at least around seven to fifteen years following graduation from high school. Most therapists need a bachelor’s degree (which takes four years to earn on average), and then a master’s degree (which takes about two to three years on average to earn) or a doctoral degree (which takes about five to seven years on average to earn).

Formal education is followed by supervised clinical hours of direct experience before one can become licensed as a therapist.This means that if one already has a bachelor’s degree, it is a matter of four to ten years before they can be licensed as a therapist.

For a more in-depth and practical look at the requirements for training, take a look at The Essential Guide, On Becoming a Therapist.

What Does a Therapist Do?

Fundamentally, therapists help people overcome their problems. These problems can come in a wide variety of forms and can include substance abuse problems, interpersonal problems with family members or coworkers, or behavioral disorders. What a therapist does depends largely on the type of therapist they are.

For example:

  • An occupational therapist helps people with temporary disabilities return to their prior level of functioning, and helps people with permanent disabilities live more independently on a day-to-day basis (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022g).
  • A recreational therapist uses recreational activities such as arts and crafts to help people improve their levels of wellbeing in general (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022f).
  • A marriage and family therapist helps couples, families, or individuals resolve interpersonal issues (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022e).
  • A behavioral therapist can help people modify their behaviors, and generally works with people with behavioral dysfunctions.
  • A CBT therapist might help someone identify thought patterns that lead to destructive habits in their life and then help change those thought patterns (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2015).
  • Finally, a child therapist can help a child cope with a behavioral or emotional disturbance so that they can develop in a healthier manner (Miller, 2015).

What a therapist does greatly depends on what type of therapist they are, and what their clinical orientation is. At its base, the job of a therapist generally consists of helping someone improve their levels of wellbeing, improving their functioning in different areas of life, whether emotional, relational, occupational, physical, or mental.

What Makes a Good Therapist?

Some of the qualities that are helpful for therapists to have include (in alphabetical order): analytical skills, communication skills, compassion, flexibility, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, listening skills, observational skills, organization, patience, resourcefulness, speaking skills, and writing skills, to name just a few.

In other words, a therapist needs to be able to communicate effectively with a client to be able to figure out what the client is looking for from a therapy session. This requires patience and listening skills as therapists need to understand what a client’s problem consists of before they can start treating it.

Therapists need to be observant, so they can hear things that are not explicitly stated by the client.

A therapist’s job consists of being able to effectively understand a client’s problem and to develop a treatment plan collaboratively with the client.

This requires therapists to be resourceful and flexible so that they can treat their clients in an individualized way based on what their clients need and are able to do.

Finally, therapists need to be organized so they can keep track of the work they have done with their clients. This record-keeping includes writing skills and speaking skills so that the therapist and the client are always on the same page. This mutual understanding is key to any therapy session.

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The Essential Guide, On Becoming a Therapist, dives deeper into the specific, necessary, baseline qualities that therapists must master to help their clients in meaningful ways.

7 Qualities of Highly Effective Therapists

What makes a good therapist? We believe there are specific, necessary, baseline qualities therapists must master to help their clients in meaningful ways, such as the following seven qualities:

1. Empathy

Therapists empathize with their patient’s pain and suffering, feeling just enough to understand without becoming overwhelmed or distracted.

2. Good listeners

Therapists need to be excellent listeners. Therapists are infinitely interested in hearing others’ stories and learning about their lives, hopes, and dreams.

3. Curiosity

Therapists have curious minds and are dedicated students of the human condition.

4. Self-knowledge

Therapists understand themselves, their strengths, and their weaknesses.

5. Experience as a client

Therapists are often in therapy themselves, helping them understand what it feels like to be a client. Importantly also, therapists are people too, with their own problems and struggles. Therefore, therapists also work on their mental health.

6. Boundaries

Therapists set effective boundaries.

7. Self-care

Therapists always remember to take care of themselves.

It takes years of training, education, and experience to become a therapist and develop these skills. As a result, our team at believes that therapists are made, not born.

How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (4)

How to Become a Psychotherapist

Psychotherapists help people overcome problems in their lives, whether they are mental or interpersonal (UK Council for Psychotherapy, 2015). For example, a psychotherapist might help someone figure out why they have so much stress or how to deal with an unhealthy relationship with a coworker. Therapy typically follows the format of weekly, hour-long sessions.

To become a psychotherapist, one should first earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. From there, one can start earning their master’s degree in psychotherapy. While earning their master’s degree, one will start accruing relevant clinical experience necessary for licensing.

In the United Kingdom, for example, one needs a master’s degree in psychotherapy and 450 hours of practice to be registered as a licensed psychotherapist by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

In the US, the requirements to become a psychotherapist typically involve a pre-degree requirement of anywhere from 1000-1500 hours, and then another 1500 hours of supervised experience after obtaining your degree.

Typically, a candidate who has finished their supervised hours will get approval from the licensing board of their region to sit for a standardized clinical licensing exam before they are officially “licensed” to practice. They may practice in the interim before licensure with a conditional license usually containing the title “associate” or “intern” before their credentials.

Once licensed, psychotherapists are mandated to obtain a certain amount of education each year to keep their license and credentialing current and up-to-date.

For more information on psychotherapy certification, visit this website.

How to Become a Behavioral Therapist

Behavioral therapists help people overcome unhealthy behaviors that are self-destructive. Behavioraltherapists typically treat people with cognitive disabilities, such as autism, to manage their behaviors, but may also work with people with obsessive-compulsive disorders or substance abuse issues (Falkenstein et al., 2016; Moyers et al., 2016).

Someone who wants to become a behavioral therapist should first earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. After earning a bachelor’s degree, one can start working as a behavioral disorder counselor. In order to become a licensed behavioral therapist, one must earn their master’s degree in psychology or counseling, and work towards licensure.

Licensing requirements vary by region, and similar to psychotherapy requirements, every state in the United States requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience for behavioral therapist licensure.

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For more information on behavioral therapists, visit this website.

How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (5)

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How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (6)

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How to Become a CBT Therapist

CBT therapists are similar to behavioral therapists, as they help people overcome destructive behaviors, but CBT therapists ultimately focus on thoughts and thought patterns (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2015).

For example, a CBT therapist might help someone who consistently lashes out at work to figure out which thought patterns are causing them to do so. A CBT therapist would then work with their client to change these thought patterns, so the client stops lashing out at work.

The process of becoming a CBT therapist is almost identical to the process of becoming a psychotherapist, except that one may specialize and obtain extra certification in CBT techniques.

After earning their master’s degree, prospective CBT therapists have two options: they can either become accredited in psychotherapy and start offering CBT programs, or they can specifically become accredited in CBT therapy.

For example, in the United Kingdom, the first option might consist of getting licensed by the UKCP or the British Association for Counseling & Psychotherapy (BACP) as a general psychotherapist.

The second option consists of earning psychotherapist accreditation and then getting specifically accredited as a CBT therapist by the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapy (BABCT) or the Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (AREBT).

BABCT requires 200 hours of supervised clinical experience on top of the 450 required for UKCP accreditation, to give you an idea.

For more information on CBT therapists, visitthis or this website.

How to Become a Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists help people with mental or physical health issues to improve their levels of wellbeing (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022f). For example, a recreational therapist might help someone living in a nursing home lead a more fulfilling life by playing games or doing activities with them. A recreational therapist might also use sports to teach someone how to be more independent after an accident.

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To become a recreational therapist one must earn a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field. Many regions do not have specific requirements for recreational therapists. That said, most hospitals and clinical offices prefer to hire certified recreational therapists (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022f).

In the United States, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) certification, which is earned after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy and passing an exam on recreational therapy, although one can earn it by simply passing the exam on top of any other bachelor’s degree.

Further specialty certification can be obtained in areas such as behavioral health or physical rehabilitation, which might help a prospective therapist be a more competitive candidate when searching for a job.

For more information on recreational therapists, visit this website.

How to Become a Child Therapist

Child therapists help children develop in a healthier way. For example, a child therapist might help a child understand why they cannot focus in school, and figure out ways to help the child focus better in the classroom (Miller, 2015).

Child therapists also help diagnose and treat mental health disorders in children and work with families to support the child.

Like most therapists, the path to becoming a child therapist begins with a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. From there, one should earn a master’s degree in child development or clinical psychology, and accrue the requisite number of supervised hours of clinical experience.

This path is again similar to that of a psychotherapist, although one interested in specifically working with children may tailor their training to specialize in techniques like expressive art therapy and child-centered play therapy. One can also go on to earn a Ph.D. or Psy.D. to be a more desirable candidate.

For more information on child therapists, visit this, this or this website.

How to Become a Family Therapist

How To Become a Therapist: Requirements & Experience (7)Marriage and family therapists help families and couples overcome interpersonal issues between one another, and also help treat individuals who have mental health issues which affect their familial relationships (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022e).

For example, a marriage and family therapist might help a married couple understand why they have been fighting.

A marriage and family therapist might also help a family learn how to better deal with one of their member’s anxiety issues.

To become a marriage and family therapist, one must first earn a bachelor’s degree, ideally in psychology or a similar field. After that, one can enter a master’s program in counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, or a related field, and earn their supervised clinical hours of experience (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015).

In the United States, licensing is administered regionally by governing boards—in California, this is the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

How to Become an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists help people with physical and mental health issues to be more independent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022g). Occupational therapists also “aspire to promote dignity… and an adequate standard of life” for their clients (Crawford et al., 2017). For example, an occupational therapist might help someone who is new to using a wheelchair figure out how to live their day-to-day life in an independent manner.

Occupational therapists also help their client’s family members or caregivers understand how to best help the client in their daily activities.

To become an occupational therapist, one should first earn a bachelor’s degree in a program that includes some coursework in physiology or a related field. After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective occupational therapists should volunteer or work in an occupational therapist’s office to gain experience (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022g).

Prospective occupational therapists are then qualified for a master’s degree in occupational therapy, which is the requisite degree for most jobs. After earning a master’s degree, one needs to complete occupational therapist licensing, which is administered in the United States by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). From there, one should be ready to start looking for work.

A Take-Home Message

While the path to becoming a therapist may seem extremely long, it is important to remember that there are actually several paths to becoming a therapist. If one already has a bachelor’s degree in just about any subject, they can start seeking out a master’s program in psychology or therapy.

Earning a Ph.D. increases one’s chances of getting hired, and it is important to note that many Ph.D. programs grant a master’s degree in the middle of the program.

It bears repeating that most of these recommendations are centered around people studying and practicing in the United States. If you intend to practice therapy elsewhere, be sure to research the licensing requirements in your area.

There are also options for people who only have a bachelor’s degree, or can only realistically earn a bachelor’s degree. Without going on to earn a master’s degree, one can still work in certain counseling positions. Some people might be happy working as a counselor, while others may use their experience as a counselor to inform their pursuit of further education and licensure as a therapist.

We would love to hear about your experience gaining work experience in counseling, therapy, or psychology and what your country or state’s requirements for credentialing are.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To learn from more than 300+ practicing therapists what it takes to create a successful career in therapy, don’t forget to check out The Essential Guide, ‘On Becoming a Therapist’.


  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2015, December 17).About marriage and family therapists. Retrieved from
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. (2015, December 17). What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)?Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022e, September 8). Marriage and family therapists. Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022a, September 8). How to become a psychologist.Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022f, October 12). How to become a recreational therapist. Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022c, September 8). Rehabilitation counselors.Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022b, September 8). How to become a school or career counselor. Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022d, October 24). Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors. Retrieved from
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022g, September 8). How to become an occupational therapist. Retrieved from
  • Crawford, E., Aplin, T., & Rodger, S. (2017). Human rights in occupational therapy education: A step towards a more occupationally just global society. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 64(2), 129-136.
  • Falkenstein, M. J., Mouton-Odum, S., Mansueto, C. S., Golomb, R. G., & Haaga, D. A. F. (2016). Comprehensive behavioral treatment of trichotillomania: A treatment development study. Behavior Modification 40(3), 414-438.
  • (2015, December 17). Counselor vs. therapist vs. psychologist. Retrieved from
  • Miller, A. (2015, December 17).Requirements for a child therapist. Retrieved from
  • Moyers, T. B., Houck, J., Rice, S. L., Longabaugh, R., & Miller, W. R. (2016). Therapist empathy, combined behavioral intervention, and alcohol outcomes in the COMBINE research project. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(3), 221-229.
  • UK Council for Psychotherapy. (2015, December 17). About psychotherapy. Retrieved from
(Video) How to Become a Marriage & Family Therapist in 10 Steps


What makes you qualified to be a therapist? ›

Therapists hold at least a master's degree, while some choose to obtain a doctorate. If a therapist chooses to advertise their practice as “psychotherapy,” then they must be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice.

How do I start the process of getting a therapist? ›

7 steps to finding a therapist who's right for you
  1. Determine what kind of support you need. Consider what prompted you to seek help. ...
  2. Compile a list of potential therapists. ...
  3. Narrow it down. ...
  4. Get in touch. ...
  5. Contact your insurance provider. ...
  6. Prepare for your first session (for virtual/tele-health appointments). ...
  7. “Shop” around.
Jun 24, 2020

Do therapists get better with experience? ›

By tracking outcomes, attending to cases that are not improving, and engaging in intentional practice of therapeutic skills, therapists can get better at what they do.

Is it hard to make it as a therapist? ›

Yes, it is hard to become a therapist due to the required postsecondary education and license, taking time and money.

What are two or three important qualities of a good therapist? ›

The Qualities of a Good Counselor
  • Communication skills. Communication skills will play a key role in your relationship with your clients. ...
  • Patience. Patience will become a critical trait as a counselor. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Non-judgmental. ...
  • Observant. ...
  • Listening Skills. ...
  • Trust. ...
  • Respectful.
Jun 21, 2021

How do you succeed as a therapist? ›

8 Ways to Become an Awesome Therapist
  1. Take care of and know yourself. ...
  2. Always be genuine and welcoming.
  3. Acknowledge the anxiety. ...
  4. Follow the emotion. ...
  5. Give more than expected. ...
  6. Return phone calls the same day. ...
  7. Constantly hone your skills. ...
  8. Collaborate rather than compete.

What is the difference between a therapist and a counselor? ›

Counselors tend to offer short-term care, while therapists tend to offer long-term care. Therapists can be more past focused and counselors more future focused. Counselors often have a set number of sessions, and therapists often work on an ongoing basis. Therapists are more likely to treat mental health conditions.

Is starting therapy hard? ›

Therapy isn't always hard, but sometimes, it can be. After you've been going for a while, your sessions may start to feel more challenging. The middle of therapy is usually harder than the beginning. In the beginning, it usually feels really good to spend time with your therapist.

What is the first thing a therapist does? ›

The therapist will ask questions about your presenting concerns, as well as your history and background. Most likely, you'll find yourself talking about your current symptoms or struggles, as well saying a bit about your relationships, your interests, your strengths, and your goals.

What is the hardest part of being a therapist? ›

One of the most challenging aspects of conducting therapy is finessing the balance between meeting clients where they are at and also encouraging them to grow.

What are the pros and cons of becoming a therapist? ›

11 pros and cons of being a mental health therapist
  • Job satisfaction. ...
  • Good salary.
  • Status. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Working with a variety of people and topics. ...
  • Many employment opportunities. ...
  • Good job outlook. ...
  • Schedule can be inconsistent and unpredictable.
Mar 10, 2023

Does experience matter in therapy? ›

While patients significantly benefitted from treatment, the study found no evidence that therapists improved in their effectiveness as they gained experience through time in the profession or cumulative number of patients seen.

How do I know if I should become a therapist? ›

Want to Be a Therapist? 5 Signs You'd Be Great at It
  • You're a people person. You enjoy time with people, feel energized by emotional exchanges, and are interested in people's backgrounds. ...
  • You're a good listener. ...
  • You think analytically. ...
  • You're an altruist. ...
  • You may have struggled with anxiety or depression.
Sep 29, 2017

Why is it so hard to start therapy? ›

It is common to have mixed feelings about starting therapy. Our instincts lead us to stay away from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Hesitation about beginning therapy may indicate the presence of something very important to understand about ourselves.

Why is it so hard to get into therapy? ›

Experts say a variety of obstacles stand in the way of those seeking mental health support, including a shortage of therapists, especially therapists of color, a lack of awareness among primary care doctors about available services, and hard-to-navigate websites.

What personality type are most therapists? ›

Research has shown that effective counselors fit one specific personality type: Introvertive, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging (INFJ). This research concluded that counselors tend to be quiet and reserved and enjoy learning through observation.

What is the most important thing in a therapist? ›

Stated simply, the most important thing to look for in a therapist is the quality of the relationship that you have with them, otherwise known as the "therapeutic alliance." You can judge this by how comfortable you feel with the person.

What is the most important part of being a therapist? ›

A counselor must be accessible to clients in order to gain their trust, but perhaps more importantly, a counselor needs to be genuine and empathetic—in his or her communication, listening, and professional persona.

What a new therapist should know? ›

How to Develop Your Voice as an Early-Career Therapist
  • Use challenging moments to grow. Many therapists experience difficult moments in their training process. ...
  • Overcome imposter syndrome. ...
  • Explore critical consciousness. ...
  • Identify your core values and hopes. ...
  • Establish a support system. ...
  • Work through personal transitions.
Aug 13, 2020

What skills do you need to be a successful therapist? ›

Some skills that a therapist may employ include communication, listening and interpersonal skills. Therapists also use critical thinking and problem-solving skills while working with their clients, and they may apply these skills to help counsel their clients and ensure they get treatment.

How can I improve myself as a therapist? ›

  1. Continue learning. Even if you've already gotten your formal education to become a therapist, learning shouldn't stop there. ...
  2. Accept feedback. Both positive and negative feedback are equally as important. ...
  3. Take care of yourself. ...
  4. Practice communication. ...
  5. Know where to draw lines. ...
  6. Improve business skills.
Apr 27, 2020

Is a therapist always a psychologist? ›

The term therapist serves as an umbrella term for all professions within the area of psychotherapy, meaning that all psychologists can be referred to as therapists. However, all therapists are not psychologists.

What does a therapist do? ›

Therapists guide you to see how your feelings, thoughts, choices, and actions affect each other. Learn things. Therapists teach lessons about emotions, thoughts, coping skills, facing fears, and more. Parents and caregivers may learn ways to help you too.

Is a therapist like a doctor? ›

As medical doctors, they can diagnose and treat mental illnesses and prescribe medications. Therapists, on the other hand, may have a master's degree in psychology, social work, or counseling and typically offer various forms of talk therapy to treat mental health conditions.

How many years of therapy is enough? ›

While 3-6 months can be a sufficient amount of time for a person to meet their goals in therapy and start to experience real and noticeable change in their life, many people may want to consider committing 6 months to 1 year.

Is it possible to fail therapy? ›

Indeed, treatment failure has been used as an umbrella term for a broad array of unwished-for effects of psychotherapy, such as attrition, lack of change, relapse, and a worsening of patient conditions.

Why is therapy 1 hour? ›

It Encourages Good Use Of Time

Keeping therapy sessions under an hour may also motivate both parties to make the best of the time allotted. “It can encourage both therapist and client to get to the heart of the problem rather quickly,” Stuempfig noted.

What are the five stages of therapy? ›

The basic stages of counseling are: 1) Developing the client/clinician relationship; 2) Clarifying and assessing the presenting problem or situation; 3) Identifying and setting counseling or treatment goals; 4) Designing and implementing interventions; and 5) Planning, termination, and follow-up.

What are the 3 basic tasks of the therapist? ›

Therapist Job Responsibilities:

Diagnoses and treats mental health disorders. Creates individualized treatment plans according to patient needs and circumstances. Meets with patients regularly to provide counseling, treatment and adjust treatment plans as necessary.

What are the weaknesses of a therapist? ›

5 Disadvantages of Being A Therapist
  • Difficult patients. There are certainly easy-to-work-with patients, however, the fact is there are also difficult patients. ...
  • Difficult co-workers. Just like most careers, you could have to work with difficult co-workers. ...
  • Stress. ...
  • Physical demands. ...
  • Emotional strain.
Jan 26, 2019

Why are therapists so quiet? ›

They see their job as helping you find your own answers, and they know that silence can help you do that. Sitting in silence allows a lot of things to rise up inside you—thoughts, feelings, and memories you might not normally experience. And that is what your therapist is hoping you'll talk about.

What do therapists struggle with? ›

5 Biggest Challenges for Licensed Mental Health Counselors
  • Healing past trauma.
  • Learning new and better coping skills.
  • Understanding critical thinking.
  • Feel more comfortable entering social situations.
  • Learning stress management.
  • Fighting substance abuse.
  • Increasing emotional health.

Are therapists good with money? ›

How Much Do Therapists Make A Year? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics psychologists can expect to make a median annual salary of $79,010 a year. The lower 10% of this same demographic can make around $43,800 a year, and the highest 10% can make as much as $129,250 a year.

What is hard about being a therapist? ›

Being a therapist can be depressing, for a variety of reasons. The constant struggle to develop trust, cultivate a relationship and set goals for your patients only to watch them struggle, even after months or years of therapy, can cause you to feel a little pessimistic after time.

Why you should become a therapist? ›

The most rewarding part of being a counsellor is knowing that you had a part in affecting the life of another human being. Giving hope when people feel hopeless. Inspiring others to be all that they are capable of being, so that they can go out into the world and pay it forward by helping others.

Does the age of a therapist matter? ›

Does Your Therapist's Age Matter? When trying to find a counselor who is a good fit, clients have a lot to consider. A therapist's age is one of the many factors a client may take into account when choosing the counselor they would like to work with on their therapy journey.

Can a therapist like their client? ›

It's not uncommon for therapists to have feelings for clients, and vice versa—call it transference, countertransference, or something else. But we have to remember that it's the therapist's job to meet the client's therapeutic needs and goals, not the therapist's own personal or professional wants and needs.

Can a therapist like a patient? ›

The reality is that many therapists have experienced occasional sexual or romantic feelings toward their clients—but only a small percentage do anything to act on them. Indeed, this is what a recent study of mental health professionals in Belgium, by Vesentini et al., has found.

What is a day in the life of a therapist like? ›

A typical day for a therapist involves working on paperwork, answering emails and phone calls, and seeing patients. Depending on the type of therapist, their days begin very similarily, but can greatly differ when it comes to patient care. Seeing patients can differ greatly depending on your specialty.

What questions do therapists ask? ›

During therapy, clients are often asked questions to help them tune in to their immediate experiences, such as:
  • What are you feeling?
  • What are you thinking?
  • How does your body feel right now?
  • What are you seeing and doing in this very moment?
  • What sounds do you hear around you?
Feb 7, 2020

What makes a good therapy client? ›

Successful clients accept that they will have to make sacrifices and take risks to get better. Overcoming anxiety requires an investment of time, energy, and effort. It also requires giving up on coping mechanisms you've used for years, such as avoiding certain situations or seeking reassurance from loved ones.

How does therapy usually start? ›

At the beginning of a session, the therapist typically invites you to share what's been going on in your life, what's on your mind, what's bothering you, or whether there are any goals you'd like to discuss. You'll be invited to speak openly.

What is starting therapy like? ›

During your first session, your therapist will ask questions to understand what you're struggling with and what brought you in to see them. You'll likely talk about some of your past (family history, traumatic experiences) and how your symptoms or feelings are manifesting today, and how long they have been showing up.

Why do I fail at therapy? ›

Poor self-care habits: If you're not exercising, your diet is dismal, you don't have creative outlets, you engage in unhealthy relationships, or you abuse drugs or alcohol, such choices can undermine the benefits of therapy.

Is studying to be a therapist hard? ›

Yes, it is hard to become a therapist due to the required postsecondary education and license, taking time and money.

Is being a therapist mentally hard? ›

Helping clients can be a rewarding part of being a therapist, but it may also contribute to some stress. For example, you may encounter stressful situations when communicating with patients in highly emotional states. You can manage your stress levels as a therapist by implementing stress management techniques.

Why are therapists so expensive? ›

Therapists Have To Keep On Training

One of the major reasons for the high price of therapy is the high entry costs of the business. Multiple years of schooling are required to qualify, and therapists have to complete hours of low paid work to gain experience for a license.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a therapist? ›

Psychologists can do research, which is a very important contribution academically and clinically, to the profession. A therapist is a broader umbrella term for professionals who are trained—and often licensed—to provide a variety of treatments and rehabilitation for people.

How do you know if you should become a therapist? ›

Want to Be a Therapist? 5 Signs You'd Be Great at It
  • You're a people person. You enjoy time with people, feel energized by emotional exchanges, and are interested in people's backgrounds. ...
  • You're a good listener. ...
  • You think analytically. ...
  • You're an altruist. ...
  • You may have struggled with anxiety or depression.
Sep 29, 2017

How do I become a therapist in PA? ›

4 Steps to Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in PA
  1. Earn a master's degree in Professional Counseling or a related field (60 credits).
  2. Complete post-master's supervised clinical work (2 years minimum/ 6 years maximum).
  3. Pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) licensing board examination.
Dec 16, 2020

Can a therapist treat someone they know? ›

There is no law that prohibits therapists from seeing two people who know each other, or even two members of the same family. In some small communities, there may not even be a choice.

Why did you become a therapist? ›

"I want to become a mental health counselor because I have a desire to help others who may be struggling to understand or cope with their mental health issues. My long-term career goal is to specialize in counseling for people who are experiencing grief after traumatic experiences.

How long does it take to become a psychologist? ›

To become a clinical psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree (four to five years of college) plus a doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school). For this specialty area, most people will spend between eight to 12 years in higher education.

What are the pros and cons of being a therapist? ›

11 pros and cons of being a mental health therapist
  • Job satisfaction. ...
  • Good salary.
  • Status. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Working with a variety of people and topics. ...
  • Many employment opportunities. ...
  • Good job outlook. ...
  • Schedule can be inconsistent and unpredictable.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the benefits of being a therapist? ›

5 Advantages of Being A Therapist
  • Caring for others. This is a top advantage for anyone that works in healthcare. ...
  • Learning something new. ...
  • Job growth. ...
  • Plenty of opportunity for advancement. ...
  • Get your license reimbursed.
Jan 26, 2019

Do you need a license to be a therapist in Pennsylvania? ›

To work as a therapist or professional counselor in Pennsylvania, you'll need to gain your license from the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors. The board oversees the education, experience, and testing you'll need to practice in the state.

How much does a licensed therapist make in PA? ›

The average salary for a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania is $89,827. Licensed Professional Counselor salaries in Pennsylvania typically range between $70,000 and $113,000 a year. This compares to a national average licensed professional counselor salary of $89,827.

How do I become a behavioral therapist in PA? ›

Pennsylvania Licensure Requirements
  1. Degree Requirement: Master's Degree. ...
  2. Examination Requirement: No Examination Required. ...
  3. Experience: 1 Year. ...
  4. Continuing Education:
  5. Initial Licensing Fee: $75.00.
  6. Licensure Renewal Fee: $75.00. ...
  7. Licensure by Act 41:


1. How to become a Psychologist (Psychologist Explains How to become a Therapist)
(Dr Kim Chronister)
2. Getting Licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor | My Journey
(Life With Dee)
3. Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor Without a Counseling Degree
4. How to get a Scrum Master Job with No Experience in 2023
(Agility Academy)
5. Counseling: Becoming a Professional Counselor
(Mometrix Academy)
6. What's it Like Being a Therapist? | Kati Morton
(Kati Morton)


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