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Become A Counselor Internship

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Working As A Counselor Internship

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $41,880

    Average Salary

What Does A Counselor Internship 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 Counselor Internship

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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Counselor Internship jobs

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Counselor Internship Career Paths

Average Length of Employment
Pastoral Counselor 4.8 years
Guidance Counselor 4.3 years
School Counselor 3.0 years
Juvenile Counselor 2.8 years
Work Counselor 2.7 years
Clinical Counselor 2.6 years
Teacher Counselor 2.5 years
Group Therapist 2.4 years
Primary Counselor 2.4 years
Outreach Counselor 2.3 years
Family Counselor 2.3 years
Personal Counselor 2.2 years
Resource Counselor 2.2 years
Intake Counselor 2.1 years
Group Counselor 2.1 years
Counselor 2.0 years
Program Counselor 1.9 years
Unit Counselor 1.8 years
Relief Counselor 1.8 years
Youth Counselor 1.8 years
Peer Counselor 1.8 years
Teen Counselor 1.7 years
Trained Counselor 1.4 years
Junior Counselor 1.1 years
Practicum Student 0.8 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 19.1%
Volunteer 7.4%
Counselor 6.5%
Teacher 4.8%
Tutor 2.6%
Cashier 2.2%
Top Employers After
Counselor 13.5%
Internship 10.8%
Therapist 10.0%
Clinician 5.9%
Volunteer 3.7%
Teacher 3.0%

Counselor Internship Demographics

Gender

Female

75.6%

Male

22.2%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

78.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.2%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.1%

French

8.2%

Russian

3.2%

Chinese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.0%

Italian

2.3%

German

2.1%

Arabic

2.0%

Korean

1.9%

Hindi

1.7%

Cantonese

1.4%

Portuguese

1.3%

Japanese

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Urdu

1.0%

Greek

0.9%

Swahili

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Armenian

0.6%
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Counselor Internship Education

Schools

Liberty University

19.3%

Grand Canyon University

9.2%

Capella University

8.5%

Walden University

8.2%

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

6.8%

University of Phoenix

6.4%

Webster University

4.9%

University of North Texas

3.7%

Troy University

3.4%

Texas A&M University

3.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.0%

University of Southern California

3.0%

Argosy University-Atlanta

2.9%

Georgia State University

2.9%

Florida State University

2.7%

Oakland University

2.5%

New York University

2.5%

Loyola University of Chicago

2.5%

University of Texas at San Antonio

2.4%

George Washington University

2.4%
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Majors

School Counseling

22.8%

Mental Health Counseling

16.9%

Counseling Psychology

11.8%

Social Work

11.3%

Psychology

10.2%

Rehabilitation Science

3.8%

Family Therapy

3.4%

Human Services

3.1%

Clinical Psychology

2.8%

Education

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Sociology

1.4%

Law

1.3%

Business

1.3%

Educational Leadership

1.2%

Pharmacy

0.9%

Human Development

0.9%

Chemical Engineering

0.8%

Elementary Education

0.7%

Pastoral Counseling And Specialized Ministries

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

64.6%

Bachelors

17.5%

Other

7.1%

Doctorate

4.8%

Associate

2.9%

Certificate

2.6%

License

0.3%

Diploma

0.2%
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Job type you want
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Counselor Internship Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Marriage and Family Counselor Intern Nogales Psychological Counseling, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 10, 2016 $66,784
Marriage and Family Counselor Intern Nogales Psychological Counseling, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 25, 2013 $58,436
Marriage and Family Counselor Intern Nogales Psychological Counseling, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2010 $58,436
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern Tangible Difference Learning Center Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $54,000
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern Lyle R Cadenhead Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $43,827
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern Lutheran Social Service of The South, Inc. Corpus Christi, TX Apr 15, 2014 $42,000
Professional Clinical Counselor, Intern The Open Mind Training Institute Santa Monica, CA Aug 17, 2015 $41,740
Professional Clinical Counselor, Intern The Open Mind Training Institute Santa Monica, CA Aug 25, 2014 $41,740
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern Lutheran Social Service of The South, Inc. Corpus Christi, TX Apr 15, 2013 $38,500
Rehabilitation Counselor/MFT Intern Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 28, 2013 $38,500
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern Sharon L. Rogers, PHD PC ABPP Corpus Christi, TX Sep 05, 2013 $32,098

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Top Skills for A Counselor Internship

IndividualTreatmentPlansIntakeAssessmentsSubstanceAbuseIssuesCrisisInterventionMentalHealthIssuesCounselorInternAnxietyDisordersAlcoholAngerManagementGroupTherapySessionsDomesticViolenceChildTraumaSupportGroupSocialSkillsCognitiveBehavioralTherapyFamilyTherapyCommunityResourcesRelapsePreventionLifeSkills

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Top Counselor Internship Skills

  1. Individual Treatment Plans
  2. Intake Assessments
  3. Substance Abuse Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Create individual treatment plans based on behavior and academic observation, as well as professional consultation.
  • Administered intake assessments such as the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.
  • Counseled individuals and assisted in skill building strategies for adults with severe substance abuse issues and anger management issues.
  • Provide crisis intervention and conduct risk and safety assessments to ensure client safety when needed; assist clients with safety planning.
  • Counseled adolescents and adults suffering from various mental health issues.

Top Counselor Internship Employers