The past twelve months have given us all a lot to think about and this has led to many of us wanting to change our careers to something new, perhaps more rewarding or with a larger salary.
Because of this, searches for how to become a therapist have increased tenfold since the beginning of the pandemic. There are many reasons why people are wanting to become a therapist. Firstly, it can be rewarding being able to help people every day with their mental health struggles.
Secondly, increasing numbers of us are experiencing mental health problems and seeking advice and aid from mental health professionals, making it one of the few professions with excellent job security during such a negative economic period.
If you are thinking about a career in therapy and becoming a therapist or becoming a psychotherapist, read on for our guide.
The Right Degree
Ultimately, you do require a university education to become a fully qualified therapist. If you have already undertaken a bachelor’s degree in a different subject, don’t worry, your BA can be in any area.
However, you will require an MA in a relevant subject, such as psychology. After this has been completed, you can move onto a work placement.
A work placement in a practice can vary in length, this can be anything from a few months to a couple of years. These placements are always limited so it’s best to apply early, many students start their search when they begin their master’s degree to ensure they get their top choice.
You will be working with qualified professionals and be under supervision during this placement. This is a great chance to see therapists at work, while a classroom setting can teach a lot, many therapists find they gain the most valuable experience during a work placement.
Get Your License
Once a workplace has been completed, you can apple for your therapy license and start practising without supervision and see paying clients. The process can vary, depending on where you live, there is often another cost and some areas may require you to take another exam, so be prepared for this.
Choosing Your Specialty
For the best-earning potential, you may want to choose a certain area of therapy, for example, you may prefer couples therapy, helping sexual abuse victims or want to solely focus on helping children. Whatever route you choose, there will be more training available.
A great part of doing this is that even if you discover you haven’t chosen what is right for you, you can continue training in all other areas, there really is no limit. The more you know, the more you can charge and the larger demographic you can treat.
Is Becoming A Therapist Right For You?
So you have an interest in helping people, human psychology and are tempting with the potential earnings of becoming a therapist, but is this enough? There are certain traits every good therapist needs to be successful.
A Good Listener
It’s one thing to listen to what someone else is saying, it’s another to be attentive and analyse what they are saying. Most clients won’t be completely candid with you from the start as they need to build trust, others may not understand their own feelings and actions and need someone to interpret them.
You need to be able to listen and understand what they are saying and piece this together with what you learnt in training and their own personality to come to the right conclusion for them.
Most clients will be grateful and courteous for your services, but, inevitably, you will also come across difficult ones. Remember, these people are at a point in their lives that is incredibly difficult and therapy may have been the last resort for them.
It is not uncommon for clients to become verbally or physically abusive, you must be able to not take this personally and remain professional.
You will also hear some very harrowing information, especially from those who have experienced abuse in their lives or witnessed something horrific and are experiencing PTSD.
Clients will vary in how much detail they provide, but you must always remain professional during their conversation. Some therapists seek mental health aid themselves, to be able to prevent a detrimental impact on their own minds from hearing such events.
If a career in therapy seems like the right fit for you but you still want more information, you can contact your local practice. Many places will be happy to accommodate a meeting, virtually or in person, so you can speak to a professional and get a real insight into the industry. This is a great chance to find out where they trained as well so you can gauge the best schools.