Psychotherapy is a method of addressing mental health difficulties by talking about the problems. It may be labeled counseling, psychosocial therapy, or talk therapy by some mental health providers. A professional utilizes various techniques to encourage a client to open up about behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Clients are then taught coping strategies to address the challenges in their lives.
Psychotherapy may be used to address a number of mental health concerns. Possible mental health problems that may be treated with psychotherapy include:
- Drug dependency
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
However psychotherapy can be used to treat problems that are not necessarily recognized mental health disorders. Among other problems that professionals may treat with psychotherapy are:
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Passive-aggressive behavior
- Relationship conflicts
- Road rage
As with the treatments for most medical difficulties, psychotherapy is best utilized as a part of an overall treatment plan. Professionals should combine it with other treatments if necessary and not rely upon it as some sort of magical cure. Because it relies heavily upon the client being willing to communicate, it may not be suitable for everyone.
Since psychotherapy is a treatment method rather than an occupation, many careers can utilize a psychotherapy degree. Some mental health professionals who can use psychotherapy in their work are:
- Licensed professional counselor
- Psychiatric nurses
Regardless of the occupation; a mental health professional will typically need a master’s degree or doctorate to practice psychotherapy. In addition to their occupation’s collegiate requirements, a mental health professional will often take coursework in psychological counseling.
Psychotherapy has a number of different techniques that students may want to specialize in. Some of psychotherapy’s methods include:
- Art therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
After graduation, a professional offering psychotherapy will need to be licensed in most states. A license allows a professional to offer counseling services to the public. In order to apply for a license, a professional often must graduate from an accredited college and have a supervised internship.
Most licenses have periodic renewal requirements. The most common requirement is proof of continuing education. This can be as simple as taking a collegiate class and then submitting a transcript. This helps to ensure that professionals are up to date with the most recent ideas and techniques.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the demand for jobs in mental health services to increase overall at a faster than average rate from 2008 to 2018. Some of the predicted increases are:
- Family and marriage therapists (14 percent)
- mental health counselors (24 percent)
- Psychiatrists (22 percent)
- Psychologists (12 percent)
Compared to all other occupations, mental health professionals will be in high demand. Those who are willing to relocate to rural and inner city areas will find the most job opportunities. Rural regions and the inner city have experienced chronic shortages of qualified mental health professionals.
Foreign language skills and a willingness to work long or unusual hours can also be helpful to mental health professionals. Because many clients must currently make appointments to see a professional, being available at hours outside the typical 9 to 5 work day can result in increased convenience for potential clients.