A therapist is responsible for improving the patients' health conditions by evaluating their needs and providing physical and mental support. Therapists are licensed, medical professionals who specialize in different areas to perform treatments and bring relief to patients. Some of their duties include diagnosing patient's problems, performing counseling services, monitoring medication progress, customizing therapy activities for pain management, and consulting other health professionals as needed. Therapists must have extensive knowledge with the medical industry to detect patients' conditions easily and provide effective medications.

Therapist Responsibilities

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

  • Manage ventilator and BiPAP's and create or update care plans per patient needs.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of community mental health services identify in the Medicaid guidelines and attain contractual outcomes within designate time frames.
  • Provide on-call crisis intervention as well as standard treatment, rehabilitation and support services with some interventions requiring specialize therapy services.
  • Develop and implement an effective curriculum of DBT inform group and art therapy classes specifically tailor for chemically dependent patients.
  • Provide trauma-inform individual psychotherapy, TREM group treatment protocol, and EMDR.
  • Utilize current brain base therapeutic techniques to teach clients adaptive skills to utilize in daily lives.
  • Utilize therapeutic techniques such as family therapy, CBT, TF-CBT, play therapy, and other modalities.
  • Provide applied behavioral analysis to a variety of exceptional children and young adults with autism.
  • Receive weekly individual and group supervision, psychopathology education, DBT and other therapeutic skill training.
  • Provide weekly individual sessions to children and adolescents in a residential treatment facility using DBT inform treatment.
  • Organize and update database of insurance companies and physicians to efficiently and effectively provide medical devices to patients.
  • Implement assessment and treatment plans for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, behavioral problems and other developmental disabilities.
  • Assist consumer and families to ensure client entitlements are active and Medicaid documentation is completed within appropriate standards.
  • Demonstrate culturally competent counseling and psychotherapy services to facilitate change and enhance quality of life for veterans and family.
  • Provide training for federal and public organizations regarding the psychological aspects of veterans having experience combat or military sexual trauma.

Therapist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 23% of Therapists are proficient in Social Work, Patients, and Group Therapy Sessions. They’re also known for soft skills such as Detail oriented, Dexterity, and Physical stamina.

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

  • Social Work, 23%

    Exercised independent and authoritative judgment, utilized full range of professional experience in mental health counseling and social work with adolescents.

  • Patients, 12%

    Provided Individual Therapy services to patients in the intensive inpatient detoxification unit, partial hospitalization program, and intensive outpatient programs.

  • Group Therapy Sessions, 8%

    Facilitate individual therapy sessions, Complete Intake Session, Facilitate/Co-facilitate group therapy sessions, Converse with consumers in individual and group sessions

  • Crisis Intervention, 7%

    Completed agency and other statistical reports, case recording and other appropriate regulatory forms, and provided support and crisis intervention.

  • Mental Health, 4%

    Coordinated and collaborated with Niagara County Probation and departments, community based human services organizations, mental health and educational institutions.

  • Patient Care, 3%

    Promote safe and therapeutic interdisciplinary patient care through consultation, supervision, effective communication and training of direct care staff.

Some of the skills we found on therapist resumes included "social work," "patients," and "group therapy sessions." We have detailed the most important therapist responsibilities below.

  • Detail oriented can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a therapist to have. According to a therapist resume, "like other healthcare providers, physical therapists should have strong analytic and observational skills to diagnose a patient’s problem, evaluate treatments, and provide safe, effective care." Therapists are able to use detail oriented in the following example we gathered from a resume: "completed detailed mental health assessments using dsm-v and collaborated with clients to develop individualized treatment plans. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many therapist duties rely on dexterity. This example from a therapist explains why: "physical therapists must use their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises." This resume example is just one of many ways therapists are able to utilize dexterity: "provided hands on activities focusing on team work, communication, problem solving, anger management and cultural diversity. "
  • Therapists are also known for physical stamina, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a therapist resume: "physical therapists spend much of their time on their feet, moving as they demonstrate proper techniques and help patients perform exercises" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "conducted aba therapy with children with physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities and coordinated offsite fieldtrips. "
  • In order for certain therapist responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "time-management skills." According to a therapist resume, "physical therapists typically treat several patients each day" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "complete and submit all documentation on time (session notes, treatment plans, and discharge summaries).7. "
  • As part of the therapist description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "resourcefulness." A therapist resume included this snippet: "physical therapists customize treatment plans for patients" This skill could be useful in this scenario: "provided client and family support, clinical assessment and psychoeducation to promote mental health wellness and resourcefulness. "
  • While "compassion" is listed last on this skills list, don't underestimate its importance to therapist responsibilities. The skill is described by this resume snippet, "physical therapists are often drawn to the profession in part by a desire to help people" Here is an example of how this skill is used, "provide high quality, compassionate and ethical outpatient mental health therapy to clients as scheduled. "
  • See the full list of therapist skills.

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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.

    In this section, we compare the average therapist annual salary with that of a clinician. Typically, clinicians earn a $4,207 higher salary than therapists earn annually.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between therapists and clinicians are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like social work, patients, and group therapy sessions.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a therapist responsibilities require skills like "therapy services," "medicaid," "individual therapy sessions," and "aba." Meanwhile a typical clinician has skills in areas such as "individual therapy," "treatment services," "home health," and "compassion." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    On average, clinicians reach similar levels of education than therapists. Clinicians are 1.3% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 1.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Mental Health Nurse?

    A mental health nurse is responsible for assisting with the diagnosis and treatment plans of patients with mental health complications. Mental health nurses handle high-quality nursing care under mental health professionals' supervision within a hospital or mental health institution. They support in performing therapeutic activities, administering medical examinations, and counseling patients to know more about their conditions. A mental health nurse also does administrative tasks as needed, such as organizing and updating patients' information on the database, processing treatment payments, and responding to the family's inquiries and concerns.

    The next role we're going to look at is the mental health nurse profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $50,869 higher salary than therapists per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Therapists and mental health nurses both include similar skills like "social work," "patients," and "group therapy sessions" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, therapist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "patient care," "therapeutic services," "therapy services," and "substance abuse issues." Meanwhile, a mental health nurse might be skilled in areas such as "psychiatric mental," "pmhnp," "medication management," and "cpr." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    Mental health nurses may earn a higher salary than therapists, but mental health nurses earn the most pay in the government industry with an average salary of $113,936. On the other side of things, therapists receive higher paychecks in the government industry where they earn an average of $55,972.

    In general, mental health nurses study at lower levels of education than therapists. They're 24.4% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 1.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For Therapists In The Next 3-5 Years?

    Dr. Cheryl Stenmark Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, Director, Industrial/Organizational Psychology Masters Program, Angelo State University

    First, I think technology, in general, is going to become increasingly important across all jobs in the next few years. I believe organizations will continue to conduct business remotely and electronically in the future, so it will be essential for job seekers to be comfortable with the technology (software and hardware) necessary for these small work tasks. Additionally, job seekers will want to be satisfied with multiple small task platforms, rather than choosing a favorite and only using that one. There are so many options right now for videoconferencing and other web meeting/streaming activities, and the number of options available will likely only increase in the future. So it will be essential to be flexible in one's comfort with/use of such platforms.Show more

    How a Behavioral Health Technician Compares

    A behavioral health technician participates in treating patients with behavioral problems caused by mental health issues. They are primarily responsible for monitoring the behavior of the patient, following the guidelines of treatment from a mental health professional, and regularly reporting any progress or problems. Moreover, a behavioral health technician must also carry out administrative tasks, which include producing reports and assessments, answering inquiries and correspondence, maintaining schedules, and keeping records. Furthermore, it is essential to give emotional support to a patient, providing them with a safe and healthy environment at all times.

    The third profession we take a look at is behavioral health technician. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than therapists. In fact, they make a $21,332 lower salary per year.

    Using therapists and behavioral health technicians resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "social work," "patients," and "group therapy sessions," but the other skills required are very different.

    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 therapist is likely to be skilled in "mental health," "patient care," "therapeutic services," and "therapy services," while a typical behavioral health technician is skilled in "behavioral health," "cpr," "vital signs," and "substance abuse."

    Additionally, behavioral health technicians earn a higher salary in the non profits industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $36,944. Additionally, therapists earn an average salary of $55,972 in the government industry.

    Behavioral health technicians typically study at lower levels compared with therapists. For example, they're 34.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.6% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of an Outpatient Physical Therapist

    An outpatient physical therapist specializes in diagnosing and treating a patient's movement dysfunction often caused by an illness or injury. Their responsibilities revolve around studying a patient's medical history, performing initial assessments, crafting a specific care and treatment plan, and discussing the extent of treatments with patients and their families. An outpatient physical therapist may also provide advice to families or guardians on how to assist and care for patients at home, prescribe medication, and perform follow-up consultations.

    Now, we'll look at outpatient physical therapists, who generally average a higher pay when compared to therapists annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $10,416 per year.

    According to resumes from both therapists and outpatient physical therapists, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "social work," "patients," and "group therapy sessions. "

    Each job requires different skills like "substance abuse issues," "medicaid," "dbt," and "aba," which might show up on a therapist resume. Whereas outpatient physical therapist might include skills like "physical therapy," "home health," "compassion," and "outpatient therapy."

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The non profits industry tends to pay more for outpatient physical therapists with an average of $69,187. While the highest therapist annual salary comes from the government industry.

    In general, outpatient physical therapists reach higher levels of education when compared to therapists resumes. Outpatient physical therapists are 6.8% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 2.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Therapist Does FAQs

    Counselor Vs. Psychiatrist

    A counselor can be a social worker, guidance counselor, or mental health counselor, while a psychiatrist is a doctor of mental health.

    Counselors can take many forms but, in most cases, focus on one specific issue that a client is facing, and for a limited amount of time. Guidance counselors, for example, help prepare students for college. Drug counselors work to help their clients recover from addiction, and mental health counselors see clients for conditions such as depression or anxiety.

    How Many Hours Do Therapists Work?

    The number of hours a therapist works is around 40 hours a week. The number of hours a therapist works comes down to how many clients they are seeing in a given day or week.

    They see around 20 to 30 clients a week and will spend around 10 hours a week writing up notes and completing paperwork. Anything more than 30 clients makes a 40-hour work week difficult, if not impossible.

    How Much Do Therapists Make Starting Out?

    Therapists make around $52,000 yearly starting out. As most jobs go, location and company can determine your salary.

    On the lower end of the salary range, you can make about $39,000, such as working in the state of South Carolina. On the higher end, you can earn around $67,000.

    Is Being A Therapist A Good Job?

    Yes, being a therapist is a good job. A career in therapy can be an incredibly rewarding job for someone who likes to interact with and help people. It does require significant schooling and training; however, it pays well, and there are opportunities to start your own therapy business.

    What Are The Best Gifts For A Therapist?

    The best gifts for a therapist are coffee or tea-related items, books, and white noise machines. There are also other great gift ideas that help therapists relax and focus on themselves for a change.

    Most therapists drink coffee or tea. That's why getting them a coffee or tea-related gift is a pretty safe bet. If you know them to be avid coffee drinkers, you can get them a new coffee machine for their office or even just a bag of specialty coffee beans.

    There are also many tea-related items, such as an assortment of tea bag sets, personalized tea mugs, and gift cards to their favorite tea shop.

    Another great gift in this area is mug warmers. Mug warmers are small plug-in or chargeable devices that they can have in their office space. Your therapist simply places their mug on the saucer-shaped device, and it keeps their favorite hot beverages warm.

    Books are another great option for therapists. There are so many good books on therapy, psychology, and other related subjects; you'll have plenty to choose from. Try to find one that fits into the niche of the type of therapy they perform. Most therapists are avid readers, so you really can't go wrong with a book as a present.

    White noise machines provide calming ambient noise for a therapist's office or even their home. They will be super appreciative of this gift because it has the ability to bring a soothing, peaceful atmosphere to their office that will benefit them as well as their patients.

    Along these same lines, another excellent gift is a diffuser. Diffusers use essential oils and vaporize them into the air. They can be used as air purifiers or just to create a calm and inviting atmosphere for a therapist's clients.

    Aromatherapy candles are another great option. These can help your therapist relax at home or in the office with their clients.

    Another great purchase for your therapist's office is some sort of decoration. This can come in the form of artwork, desktop items, or inspirational posters. Be sure you know your therapist's taste well before making this purchase, though.

    Therapists usually take notes during sessions, so a light therapy lamp makes a perfect addition to a therapist's office. It's called a therapy lamp because it's also useful during the winter months when we can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This light is an excellent way to combat the winter blues caused by shorter days with unchanged working hours.

    A very safe decorative item is a small office plant; just be sure to choose a plant that has maintenance that is relatively easy, like a Peperomia Obtusfolia, which only needs to be once every one to two weeks and can still thrive in low light conditions.

    Plant terrariums are also a good option. These mini sets come in stylish cases and can be purchased as a single item or as a set. They are small, so your therapist won't have any trouble finding a proper space for them, whether it's their desktop, a shelf, or hanging from a rope in the corner of their office.

    As was mentioned earlier, therapists generally love books. Oftentimes their offices are filled with useful and informative texts they reference from time to time. But instead of a book, you could also get them a set of bookends for their bookshelf. These come in so many different styles so it won't be hard to find a pair that fits your therapist's tastes perfectly.

    A simple but practical gift for your therapist is an hourglass. They come in many classy forms, like traditional ones with sand, as well as other styles. These help therapists keep track of their sessions without checking their phones or the clock on the wall, and they can simply be placed on a table between themselves and the client.

    Therapists need to unwind and do a fair amount of self-care. That's why getting them a massage package is a great idea.

    Massage packages can be purchased in the form of gift cards, and you have many different places you can get them, such as gyms, spas, health clubs, massage parlors, and more. Give them some relief from the sometimes stressful demands of their job with this thoughtful gift.

    In this same area, back massage chairs or neck massagers are also great options. These gifts can be used every day after they get home from work.

    If you are truly struggling to try to determine the best gift, you can always purchase them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store. This may seem more impersonal; however, you can be sure they will appreciate it and use it.

    What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being A Therapist?

    The pros of being a therapist are competitive pay and rewarding work, while the cons are extensive educational requirements and potential loneliness. Here is a more detailed look at the pros and cons of being a therapist:


    • Competitive Pay. Therapists can make great money. You can also undergo more specialization and training to make even more money. Along with competitive pay, therapists often have great benefits.

    • Flexible Work Hours. If you start your own practice, you will be able to choose which hours work best for you. You can choose to take specific days off or work less than normal business hours.

    • Rewarding Work. As a therapist, you are able to help people work through difficulties in their lives. You are helping people feel better and be better. This can be an incredibly rewarding feeling and many therapists feel extremely satisfied with their work.


    • Emotionally Draining. Helping people work through their issues is extremely rewarding, but it can also be extremely emotionally draining. You will also have to be open to clients who are often angry or disrespectful.

    • Lots of Requirements. Therapists will often hold doctorate degrees, which require lots of time, commitment, and money to finish. There are also licensing requirements that can be difficult to obtain.

    • Loneliness. Although you are working constantly with your clients, you are often working by yourself. Many people thrive in an environment working with coworkers, and your interactions with colleagues will be limited.

    What Is A Typical Day Like For A Therapist?

    A typical day for a therapist involves working on paperwork, answering emails and phone calls, and seeing patients. Depending on the type of therapist, their days begin very similarily, but can greatly differ when it comes to patient care.

    What Is The Difference Between A Therapist And A Psychologist?

    The difference between a therapist and a psychologist is generally what they focus on when dealing with patients. Overall, they are sometimes used interchangeably and have similar credentials, usually a master's degree or even a doctoral degree.

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