Requirements for Being a Mental Health Counselor

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Mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote mental health. They are trained to address a wide range of issues, including depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress management, problems with self-esteem, issues associated with aging, job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, and marital or other relationship problems. Mental health counselors often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors. (US Department of Labor)

To be a licensed mental health counselor a person must have a Masters Degree in counseling or other related field. The program must consist of 60 semester hours and 1000 hours of university sponsored clinical or internship experience. The degree program should be certified by CACREP. A CACREP certified program insures that the program meets examination requirements for licensure. Once completed, one must have two years of supervision and pass national or state examinations to obtain licensure.

Licensed mental health counselors have many ethical and legal issues dealing with interacting with clients in a way that leaves them in a better place. It is crucial that counselors act within the boundaries that are set by state laws as well the code of ethics from the American Counseling association. There are issues of confidentiality, understanding what's in the client's best interest, the rights of the client, and using the techniques to best assess the client. It is also important to maintain a professional relationship with clients.

A mental health counselor in the state of Florida can expect to earn $22,000 and up. Private practice mental health counselors can earn a considerable amount more settings for mental health counselors may include...
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