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Mental Health Counsellor

Licensed Mental Health Counsellor Job Description

The role of a mental health counselor is to offer guidance and support to individuals who are struggling through a particularly difficult period in their life.

The main objective you want to achieve is that the individual can only begin to get better is when they start to understand what it is that is holding them back and then taking responsibility to change their outlook.

Once they understand this, they can begin to make positive choices about who they let into their lives, have a positive image of their future and even a much improved way of looking at and dealing with the people who may have done them harm in the past.

Mental Health Counsellor Duties And Responsibilities

  • Work as the primary care giver for your resident ensuring that they are happy with the support they are being provided
  • Conduct mental health assessments on people to establish if they have mental health issues and what they are
  • Develop personal care plans for the people under your care
  • Lead individual as well as group therapy sessions
  • Running preventative mental wellness classes or workshops
  • Making treatment referrals for the patients

* A mental health counsellor may work in a school, government department, law enforcement agency or other external agency. Each setting will require a slightly different method.

Mental health counsellor requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Masters degree in counselling or a mental health field
  • Previous experience in mental health (Support worker is excellent experience)
  • Have a required state license
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • Ability to connect with people on a different level
  • Analytical approach when listening to the patient
  • Good moral character
  • Genuine caring attitude towards the people under your support

Working as a mental health counsellor

Some people need a wake up call – While the person going in may understand that something is wrong, they won’t always be willing to admit what is causing the issue. For example, a wife being cheated on may not want to admit it, but it will be your job to help them realise in a caring way. It will be hurtful for them at first, but once they have accepted it they can then finally put the pieces together.

Don’t end up needing counselling yourself – Working in counselling listening to everyone’s problems can be very disheartening. As a counsellor you will know ways of dealing with this but you will still need to watch out for depression creeping up on you. Nobody is immune to it, not even you.

Remember that they can be sent against their will – Not everyone who comes into your office is there on their own accord. Family members who are concerned about the wellbeing of their children may send them to you in an effort to get to the bottom of their problem. The problem with this is that there is nothing you can do unless the patient is willing to work with you. In these situations you will need to use your negotiation skills to great effect. Try not to talk about the issue and be more general at first to build some trust up. Once you get a relationship you can be a bit more direct, but not enough so that they shut down again.

Empathy is your greatest skill – If you can put yourself in their shoes, understand how they are feeling and use that to try to find a solution then this is half the battle won. Empathy is an essential skill for a good counsellor, without it you will find it nearly impossible to help the person because you cannot imagine how they are feeling. This is why most people who go into counselling have been through a tough time themselves and came out stronger for it.

Mental health Counselling SalaryYou can expect on average $41,000 for your skills and experience. The career outlook for counselling in general is a vastly growing market as well meaning you will never be out of a job. However, there is currently a large influx of people wanting to do counselling. This might drive wages down if they come into the same field as you.

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