What Do Mental Health Counselors Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Mental Health Counselors 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. They also maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients’ treatment.

Other tasks include:

  • Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
  • Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
  • Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.
  • Fill out and maintain client-related paperwork, including federal- and state-mandated forms, client diagnostic records, and progress notes.
  • Prepare and maintain all required treatment records and reports.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.

We asked Mental Health Counselors how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

70%

How meaningful is this job

89%


70% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 89% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Mental Health Counselors maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients’ treatment. They encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.

  • Plan, organize, or lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation, or social activities for clients.
  • Guide clients in the development of skills or strategies for dealing with their problems.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
  • Fill out and maintain client-related paperwork, including federal- and state-mandated forms, client diagnostic records, and progress notes.

We asked some Mental Health Counselors a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?79% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?38% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?84% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?34% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?15% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?64% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Mental Health Counselors also collaborate with other staff members to perform clinical assessments or develop treatment plans. They may also supervise other counselors, social service staff, assistants, or graduate students.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Mental Health Counselors Gather information about community mental health needs or resources that could be used in conjunction with therapy. They might also Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting clients or patients.

In addition, they Discuss with individual patients their plans for life after leaving therapy.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Modify treatment activities or approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients’ status.

To some Mental Health Counselors, it is also their responsibility to Refer patients, clients, or family members to community resources or to specialists as necessary.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Mental Health Counselor, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Mental Health Counselors work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
82%


Once a week
9%


Do Mental Health Counselors work outdoors?

Never
82%


Once a year
12%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Mental Health Counselors

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Related to Mental Health Counselors Job Description

Mental Health Counselors job description, what do Mental Health Counselors do, typical day for Mental Health Counselors, what is it like to work as a Mental Health Counselor, how many hours do Mental Health Counselors work, day to day work of a Mental Health Counselor

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
http://www.amhca.org/
http://www.cacrep.org/
http://www.aamft.org/


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