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Become A Behavioral Therapist

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Working As A Behavioral Therapist

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $48,600

    Average Salary

What Does A Behavioral Therapist Do

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Duties

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences
  • Help clients process their reactions and adjust to difficult changes in their life, such as divorce and layoffs
  • Guide clients through the process of making decisions about their future
  • Help clients develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and to cope with difficult situations
  • Refer clients to other resources or services in the community, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Furthermore, mental health counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach clients to eliminate unwanted and damaging behaviors and to replace them with more productive ones.

Although some disorders can be overcome, others need to be managed. With the latter, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help the client develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses.

Many mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get payment for their services.

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. 

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, they bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They evaluate family roles and development, to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists coordinate patient treatment with other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers.

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How To Become A Behavioral Therapist

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Behavioral Therapist Jobs

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Do you work as a Behavioral Therapist?

Behavioral Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

76.0%

Male

22.1%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

71.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Asian

9.5%

Unknown

2.1%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.4%

French

5.4%

Vietnamese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Hindi

2.0%

Armenian

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Mandarin

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

Urdu

1.7%

Tagalog

1.4%

Portuguese

1.4%

Swedish

1.0%

Hebrew

1.0%

Chinese

1.0%

Japanese

1.0%

Gujarati

0.7%
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Behavioral Therapist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.6%

National University

8.3%

California State University - Northridge

8.1%

San Jose State University

6.8%

Capella University

6.1%

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

5.6%

Grand Canyon University

5.0%

California State University - East Bay

4.9%

University of Southern California

4.7%

California State University - Los Angeles

4.5%

Liberty University

4.5%

Arizona State University

4.3%

University of California - Irvine

4.1%

Walden University

4.0%

California State University - Fullerton

3.8%

California State University - San Bernardino

3.6%

San Francisco State University

3.4%

California State University - Fresno

3.2%

California State University - Dominguez Hills

3.2%

San Diego State University

3.2%
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Majors

Psychology

32.8%

Counseling Psychology

9.6%

Social Work

8.0%

Clinical Psychology

5.3%

Special Education

4.4%

School Counseling

4.3%

Mental Health Counseling

4.2%

Sociology

3.9%

Education

3.2%

Family Therapy

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Business

2.6%

Human Development

2.6%

Human Services

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Behavioral Sciences

1.8%

Communication

1.7%

Communication Disorders Sciences

1.6%

Nursing

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.0%

Masters

35.9%

Other

12.0%

Associate

4.5%

Doctorate

2.9%

Certificate

2.2%

License

0.2%

Diploma

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Behavioral Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Behavioral Therapist Cameron Consultation, LLC Marblehead, MA Oct 01, 2011 $62,610
Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist The Connections Therapy Center, Inc. Lanham, MD Sep 29, 2016 $45,810
In-Home Behavioral Management Therapist Northeast Behavioral Associates Inc. Norwood, MA Sep 18, 2014 $42,000
Counselor/Behavioral Therapist Shalom, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Oct 05, 2010 $40,780
Behavioral Therapist Star, Inc. Culver City, CA Dec 15, 2011 $36,627
Behavioral Therapist Support and Treatment for Autism (Star), Inc. Culver City, CA Jan 02, 2012 $36,627
Behavioral Therapist Center for Autism Spectrum Treatment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 16, 2015 $34,500
Behavioral Therapist Center for Autism Spectrum Treatment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2010 $33,246
Behavioral Therapist Autism Opportunities Foundation Woodbury, MN Sep 13, 2015 $32,912
Behavioral Therapist RCS Behavioral &Amp; Educational Consulting, LLC Natick, MA Sep 26, 2014 $32,200
Behavioral Therapist Pacific Child and Family Associates Glendale, CA Jul 20, 2011 $31,305 -
$35,479
Senior Behavioral Therapist Autism Spectrum Consultants, Inc. San Diego, CA May 01, 2011 $29,218
Senior Behavioral Therapist Autism Spectrum Consultants, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2010 $29,218

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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Behavioral Therapist?

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Top Skills for A Behavioral Therapist

BehaviorAnalysisNewTherapistsProvideABAAutismSpectrumDisorderSocialSkillsTreatmentPlansBehaviorTherapyDiscreteTrialTrainingABATherapyDataCollectionBehaviorSupportPlansCrisisInterventionAutisticChildrenBehaviorInterventionPlansDevelopmentalDisabilitiesTherapySessionsLifeSkillsDailyLivingIEPAppropriateBehaviors

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  1. Behavior Analysis
  2. New Therapists
  3. Provide ABA
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodologies as the foundation for the individualized programs.
  • -Trained new therapists in the laws of behavior and basic principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy.
  • Provide ABA Therapy and therapeutic support for children diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
  • Worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, trained to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy
  • Developed skills such as linguistic, cognitive and social skills of children with autism.

How Would You Rate Working As a Behavioral Therapist?

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Top Behavioral Therapist Employers

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Behavioral Therapist Videos

What is CBT?

A Day in the Life of NHSC Mental Health and Behavioral Health Care Providers