If you want to have a long and successful career as a mental health counselor, then you need to devote yourself to a host of areas in a number of different ways. You need to ensure that your relationship with your clients is as comforting as it can be, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest societal viewpoints on mental health, and you need to be able to protect yourself at all times from all that you see and hear.
Being willing to embrace these three all-important dimensions of mental health counseling is only the beginning. To truly advance in this field, you have the advice and information found below into practice.
Educate yourself… and continue to do so throughout your career
To become a licensed mental health counselor, at the very least, you’re going to need to have taken a Master’s degree in the field — if you wish to gain invaluable hands-on experience as you earn this degree, you should take a Mental Health Counseling online course, as that will allow you the flexibility of being able to study in your own time, at your own pace, without disrupting your day-to-day work.
Earning this qualification and your subsequent licensure shouldn’t be the end of your educational journey, though. To truly advance in the field, you need to take on different forms of training, some of which include:
- Peer review
- Service Environment
- Best practices
- Accurate representation
- Counselor impairment
- Ethical practice
Hone in on a specialty
It’s okay to test the waters for a while as you find out what kind of mental health counselor you are and what type of patient you treat most effectively. If you want to become a successful clinical counselor, however, you’re going to have to hone in on a specialty sooner rather than later. By treating a dedicated and patient group, you give yourself a chance to make a name for yourself as a specialized professional regarding mental health issues, and garnering a reputation for yourself will never present you in the most positive light in this instance.
Anybody who is anybody in mental health counseling knows somebody else who is a somebody in the field. For this reason, you need to grow your network and seek to forge strong, long-lasting relationships. All the different states have their own American Mental Health Counselors Association; you just have to find and join the one that suits your geographical location.
Understand the balance of art and science
Mental health counseling is one of the only professions in which art and science, two fields that are normally polar opposites, balance together. They balance very finely, however, and you need to understand this if you want to advance your career. To be a great counselor, you must master the science behind what it is that drives people to have mental health issues, and you then need to have intuitive skills when it comes to the art of fostering a therapeutic treatment for each patient that you counsel.
To advance as a mental health counselor, you need to dedicate yourself to your profession by putting the above advice into practice.