Job Title: Mental Health/Substance Abuse Therapist
Type of Company: I work for a private firm that specializes in providing community-based mental health and substance abuse services to youth and families. We provide an array of clinical services from out-patient counseling to in-home counseling to mental health support and foster care.
Education: BA, MSW in Social Work
Previous Experience: I started out working in residential treatment centers for adolescents before becoming an out-patient therapist.
Job Tasks: As the director of out-patient services, I divide my time between managing staff and seeing to administrative and clinical duties. I also generate business by cultivating contacts with our referral sources, keep tabs on the types and numbers of referrals being made to us and provide counseling to families, couples, individuals and groups.
A typical day for me gets under way at 9:00AM with staff supervision, community meetings or administrative duties. Throughout the day, I'm deluged with phone calls and emails, responding on average to fifteen of the former (from case managers, clients and new referrals) and forty of the latter. I observe and collect urine screenings, hold from one to four family or marital counseling sessions and one or two group counseling sessions and supervise staff directly or indirectly. The day can drag on until as late as 10PM (though I have control over my schedule).
My work is filled with challenges and problems, not all of them anticipated, and calls for a high degree of flexibility and patience in addressing the needs of my clients and staff.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is being able to help individuals and families make important alterations that better their lives. I also like helping other professionals to grow and develop into highly-skilled practitioners.
The worst and most difficult part is striking a balance between professional obligations and private imperatives. I make myself available to my clients and staff 24 hours a day (with rare exceptions), and sometimes it is difficult or inconvenient to manage their crises. It is also very hard to watch our counseling fail or misfire.
1.) Volunteer with children, adolescents or adults starting in high school and continue volunteering through college. In many entry-level clinical positions, you need a bachelor's degree in social work, psychology or community counseling and at least a year's experience.
2.) Work on listening to others without insisting on your own point of view and problem-solving with your family and friends.
3.) Learn a foreign language.
Additional Thoughts: One of the most important skills to learn in this kind of work is a sort of critical distance. Becoming too involved or immersed in other people's probles can render you useless: too close, paradoxically, to help them. And a strong work ethic won't hurt you either, in this (or any other) line of work.
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school
Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.
As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.
Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.
100% Online & No Standardized Testing
100% online degrees from Ashford University
Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Substance Abuse And Behavioral Disorder Counselors, including: