The job of mental health therapists is to guide individuals, groups, couples, and families with problems that are impacting their well-being and mental health. Their duties and responsibilities include encouraging clients to talk about their experiences, examining issues that may affect mental health such as substance abuse and bullying, and assisting clients in defining their goals and action plans. Mental health therapists are also responsible for developing therapeutic processes, referring clients to other services or resources like psychologists, and helping them adjust to life changes.

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Mental Health Therapist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real mental health therapist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Accomplish counseling with patients diagnose with PTSD, bi-polar illness, personality disorders, major depression, schizophrenia and addictions.
  • Work with PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, substance abuse, borderline features and attachment issues.
  • Plan for discharge, make referrals for follow-up after IOP completion and assist with obtaining services.
  • Work with adults & adolescents in individual, family & group therapies using CBT, DBT and motivational interviewing.
  • Assist clients coping with ADHD, depression, PTSD, anxiety, grief and a host of other issues.
  • Implement DBT and CBT techniques, along with relapse prevention, case management, assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning.
  • Complete billing paperwork in accordance with Medicaid requirements.
  • Work with Telemedicine psychiatrists to report clinical findings.
  • Train therapists on Medicare paperwork requirements and Medicaid reimbursement.
  • Create ASAM criteria specific protocols for documentation for clinical team.
  • Complete EMDR & substance abuse evaluations to identify/implement appropriate services and resources.
  • Develop and implement community education regarding problems and needs of the veterans.
  • Use active listening and empathetic communication to counsel individuals dealing with challenging situations.
  • Demonstrate culturally competent counseling and psychotherapy services to facilitate change and enhance quality of life for veterans and family.
  • Facilitate individual, process group, experiential, and family therapy to adolescents in a dual diagnose residential treatment facility.

Mental Health Therapist Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a Mental Health Therapist is "should I become a Mental Health Therapist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, Mental Health Therapist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 11% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a Mental Health Therapist by 2028 is 81,200.

On average, the Mental Health Therapist annual salary is $46,360 per year, which translates to $22.29 an hour. Generally speaking, Mental Health Therapists earn anywhere from $35,000 to $60,000 a year, which means that the top-earning Mental Health Therapists make $25,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a Mental Health Therapist, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a Clinician, Licensed Professional Counselor, Counselor/Art Therapist, and Primary Therapist.

Mental Health Therapist Jobs You Might Like

12 Mental Health Therapist Resume Examples

Mental Health Therapist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 22% of Mental Health Therapists are proficient in Mental Health, Group Therapy, and Treatment Plans. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Emotional skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Mental Health Therapists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Mental Health, 22%

    Deliver individual and family in-home counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults through a community-based mental health agency.

  • Group Therapy, 11%

    Worked with adult domestic violence survivors providing a variety of direct clinical services including crisis intervention, individual and group therapy.

  • Treatment Plans, 10%

    Contributed to the individual and family's treatment by encouraging establishing goals, engaging in positive behavioral change implementing treatment plans.

  • Crisis Intervention, 9%

    Furnished crisis intervention as needed and assessed clients to determine the suitability of transition from solitary confinement to the general population.

  • Psychosocial Assessments, 6%

    Assess family functioning, recognize family strengths and family needs.

  • Trauma, 5%

    Provided evidence-based therapeutic interventions to adults experiencing PTSD, depression/anxiety, or adjustment disorder related to past trauma and/or US resettlement.

"Mental Health," "Group Therapy," and "Treatment Plans" aren't the only skills we found Mental Health Therapists list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of Mental Health Therapist responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Communication skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a Mental Health Therapist to have. According to a Mental Health Therapist resume, "Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives" Mental Health Therapists are able to use Communication skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "Maintain open and constant communication with community service agencies involved in client s care. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling Mental Health Therapist duties is Emotional skills. According to a Mental Health Therapist resume, "Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations." Here's an example of how Mental Health Therapists are able to utilize Emotional skills: "Provided family, individual and group therapy to children ages 10-15 diagnosed with various emotional/behavioral issues. "
  • Problem-solving skills is also an important skill for Mental Health Therapists to have. This example of how Mental Health Therapists use this skill comes from a Mental Health Therapist resume, "Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "Provided anger management/conflict resolution, integrity therapy, interpersonal therapy, and play therapy pertaining to grief and loss. "
  • See the full list of Mental Health Therapist skills.

    We've found that 43.9% of Mental Health Therapists have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 48.9% earned their master's degrees before becoming a Mental Health Therapist. While it's true that most Mental Health Therapists have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every ten Mental Health Therapists did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those Mental Health Therapists who do attend college, typically earn either a Social Work degree or a Psychology degree. Less commonly earned degrees for Mental Health Therapists include a Counseling Psychology degree or a Mental Health Counseling degree.

    When you're ready to become a Mental Health Therapist, you might wonder which companies hire Mental Health Therapists. According to our research through Mental Health Therapist resumes, Mental Health Therapists are mostly hired by Kaiser Permanente, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and National Mentor Holdings. Now is a good time to apply as Kaiser Permanente has 73 Mental Health Therapists job openings, and there are 41 at Sea Mar Community Health Centers and 37 at National Mentor Holdings.

    Since salary is important to some Mental Health Therapists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Arlington County, Union of Pan Asian Communities, and Hennepin County Library. If you were to take a closer look at Arlington County, you'd find that the average Mental Health Therapist salary is $61,252. Then at Union of Pan Asian Communities, Mental Health Therapists receive an average salary of $56,100, while the salary at Hennepin County Library is $56,041.

    View more details on Mental Health Therapist salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious mental health therapists are:

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      What Clinicians Do

      A clinician specializes in providing diagnosis, treatment, and direct care to patients with different illnesses. A clinician's duties mainly revolve around conducting extensive research and analysis, providing medical care through various therapies, and improving one's overall health condition. Furthermore, a clinician must obtain and analyze a patient's complete medical history, provide diagnostic tests, always monitor the effects of treatment on a patient, provide prognosis and consider the overall impact on a patient's health and well-being.

      We looked at the average Mental Health Therapist annual salary and compared it with the average of a Clinician. Generally speaking, Clinicians receive $8,356 higher pay than Mental Health Therapists per year.

      Even though Mental Health Therapists and Clinicians have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require Mental Health, Group Therapy, and Treatment Plans in the day-to-day roles.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a Mental Health Therapist responsibilities require skills like "Community Services," "DSM," "Client Records," and "Anxiety Disorders." Meanwhile a typical Clinician has skills in areas such as "Emergency," "Patient Care," "Community Providers," and "Risk Assessments." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      On average, Clinicians reach lower levels of education than Mental Health Therapists. Clinicians are 14.8% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 1.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Licensed Professional Counselor?

      A licensed professional counselor is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing therapy and counseling to patients with emotional and mental health issues. They listen to their patients and utilize various techniques to address concerns and help through the healing procedures. Their duties entail conducting interviews and evaluations, performing research and assessments, studying the patients' medical histories, providing consultations, and developing treatment plans that suit every patients' needs. Additionally, a licensed professional counselor monitors and records their patients' progress, adjusting treatments and medications as necessary.

      Next up, we have the Licensed Professional Counselor profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a Mental Health Therapist annual salary. In fact, Licensed Professional Counselors salary difference is $56,114 higher than the salary of Mental Health Therapists per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Mental Health Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors both include similar skills like "Mental Health," "Group Therapy," and "Treatment Plans" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that Mental Health Therapist responsibilities requires skills like "Clinical Staff," "Community Services," "DSM," and "Clinical Documentation." But a Licensed Professional Counselor might use skills, such as, "LPC," "Real Estate," "Hipaa," and "Diverse Population."

      On average, Licensed Professional Counselors earn a higher salary than Mental Health Therapists. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, Licensed Professional Counselors earn the most pay in the Telecommunication industry with an average salary of $98,967. Whereas, Mental Health Therapists have higher paychecks in the Non Profits industry where they earn an average of $53,058.

      On the topic of education, Licensed Professional Counselors earn lower levels of education than Mental Health Therapists. In general, they're 5.6% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 1.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Counselor/Art Therapist Compares

      A counselor/art therapist is responsible for conducting art sessions as part of patients' therapy treatments, letting them express their human nature and emotions through artistic discovery. Counselors/art therapists guide the patients throughout their recovery process, identifying their needs and conditions by analyzing their crafts. A counselor/art therapist coordinates with other medical professionals to deliver quality care services for the patients, monitor their progress, record observations, and instructing patients in art activities to discover their maximum potential.

      The third profession we take a look at is Counselor/Art Therapist. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than Mental Health Therapists. In fact, they make a $4,565 higher salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several Mental Health Therapists and Counselor/Art Therapists we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "Mental Health," "Group Therapy," and "Treatment Plans," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a Mental Health Therapist is likely to be skilled in "Clinical Staff," "Community Services," "DSM," and "Appropriate Referrals," while a typical Counselor/Art Therapist is skilled in "Diagnosis," "Patient Care," "Art Projects," and "Medicaid."

      Counselor/Art Therapists are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to Mental Health Therapists. Additionally, they're 14.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Primary Therapist

      Primary therapists are the main point of contact for patients concerning wellness and overall mental health. Those who choose this career path will be expected to supervise and manage efficient treatment according to plan, and to manage between six and eight patients at a time, keeping in constant communication with these patients and various specialists.

      Primary Therapists tend to earn a higher pay than Mental Health Therapists by about $1,218 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, Mental Health Therapists and Primary Therapists both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "Mental Health," "Group Therapy," and "Treatment Plans. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "Community Services," "DSM," "Ieps," and "Safety Plans" are skills that have shown up on Mental Health Therapists resumes. Additionally, Primary Therapist uses skills like Patient Care, Insurance Companies, Relapse Prevention, and Chemical Dependency on their resumes.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The Automotive industry tends to pay more for Primary Therapists with an average of $48,224. While the highest Mental Health Therapist annual salary comes from the Non Profits industry.

      Primary Therapists reach similar levels of education when compared to Mental Health Therapists. The difference is that they're 2.0% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 1.4% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.