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Mental Health Counselor

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What Do Mental Health Counselor Do?

Mental Health Counselor Job Description Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

Life As a Mental Health Counselor: What Do They Do?

  • Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
  • Learn about new developments in counseling by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, or establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.
  • Monitor clients’ use of medications.
  • Act as client advocates to coordinate required services or to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
  • Supervise other counselors, social service staff, assistants, or graduate students.
  • Plan, organize, or lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation, or social activities for clients.

Qualities of a Mental Health Counselor

These are the skills Mental Health Counselors say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Mental Health Counselor Jobs

  • Clinician
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Therapist
  • Mental Health Therapist
  • Residential Child Care Counselor

Is There Going to be Demand for Mental Health Counselors?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 157,700 jobs in the United States for Mental Health Counselor. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 36,500 new jobs for Mental Health Counselor by 2026. The BLS estimates 21,600 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Mental Health Counselors in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Mental Health Counselor are Utah, Arizona, and Virginia. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Kansas, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Tools & Technologies Used by Mental Health Counselors

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Mental Health Counselors:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Database software
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Scheduling software
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Statistical software
  • Patient electronic medical record EMR software
  • Netscape Navigator
  • Management information systems MIS
  • Office suite software

How do I Become a Mental Health Counselor?

Learn what Mental Health Counselor education requirements there are.

Mental Health Counselor Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Mental Health Counselor?

Mental Health Counselor Work Experience

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those who work as a Mental Health Counselor sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Katie Spencer via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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