Mental Health Counselors

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About the Job

Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

It is also Called

  • Treatment Coordinator
  • Therapist
  • Residential Child Care Counselor
  • Mental Health Therapist
  • Mental Health Specialist
  • Mental Health Program Specialist
  • Mental Health Professional
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Mental Health Case Manager
View All

What They Do

  • Coordinate or direct employee workshops, courses, or training about mental health issues.
  • Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse or improve community health or counseling services.
  • Supervise other counselors, social service staff, assistants, or graduate students.
  • Gather information about community mental health needs or resources that could be used in conjunction with therapy.
  • Refer patients, clients, or family members to community resources or to specialists as necessary.
  • Learn about new developments in counseling by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, or establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.
  • Plan, organize, or lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation, or social activities for clients.
  • Monitor clients' use of medications.
  • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting clients or patients.
  • Collaborate with other staff members to perform clinical assessments or develop treatment plans.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SIA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative and Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $43,480 with most people making between $27,350 and $63,640

Outlook

1.67%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 12,170 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 14,200 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 203 openings due to growth and about 257 replacement openings for approximately 460 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education