Psychotherapy, which is also known as counseling or talk therapy, is a method of dealing with a variety of mental-health issues through sessions with a mental-health professional. In general, these psychotherapy sessions are used to help individuals or groups learn how to better take control of their own lives with the application of healthy coping skills.
What Does a Psychotherapist Do?
Psychotherapists work to assist clients in dealing with many mental and emotional issues and life stresses. This is done by carefully listening to each client, understanding the problem and utilizing various psychological techniques to produce strategies that will effectively address the issue.
Psychotherapy is often incorporated into the overall treatment for disorders in the areas of anxiety, personality, eating and mood disorders and with substance-abuse issues and other addictive behaviors. Psychotherapists may also provide therapy that addresses such topics as conflict resolution, relief from anxiety or stress, recovery from abuse, managing unhealthy behaviors, coming to terms with serious health issues and coping with major life changes.
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Careers in Psychotherapy
If you are a student who is planning to earn a psychotherapy degree, then you should know that there are a number of excellent career paths that you may choose from. In addition to common career choices that include marriage and family therapy and occupational therapy, here are just two of the most popular choices that will be available to you once you have completed your education:
- Substance Abuse, Addiction and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
This career choice will allow you to work with clients who are suffering from conditions that include eating disorders, gambling addiction, alcoholism and drug addiction. It will be your responsibility to assess the specific needs of clients, determine their ability to accept treatment and provide a list of treatment options. You’ll also work with clients and their family units to encourage the modification of behaviors and teach workable coping skills. Your work may be conducted on an individual basis or through group-therapy sessions. You may expect to earn near $40,000 a year on this career path.
- Social Worker
The yearly salary for this career choice is around $46,000, and you’ll have the opportunity to work for employers that include government agencies, schools and treatment centers. Your job duties will vary based on your employment, but your main goal will be to help clients cope with their own specific problems. You’ll be expected to help clients establish clear goals and take proper steps to meet those goals. Making referrals for further assistance and arranging for needed services will also be an important part of your job.
Obtaining a Psychotherapy Degree
Though psychotherapists are not medical doctors, you’ll still need a psychotherapy degree to practice this trade. If this is your career choice, then you’ll need to pursue a degree in either psychology or a social science such as clinical psychology, clinical social work or counseling with an emphasis on psychotherapy. A post-graduate internship will also be required, and you’ll then need to seek your license in psychotherapy or the specific therapeutic field that you’ve chosen.