Mental Health Counselors

Human Services > Counseling & Mental Health Services

Projected Growth:

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Mental Health Counselors include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 62.16% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 34.29% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.


    Guide clients in the development of skills or strategies for dealing with their problems.

    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.

    Plan, organize, or lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation, or social activities for clients.

    Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.

    Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment.

    Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.

    Evaluate clients' physical or mental condition, based on review of client information.

    Develop and implement treatment plans based on clinical experience and knowledge.

    Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.

    Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.

    Monitor clients' use of medications.

    Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse or improve community health or counseling services.

    Discuss with individual patients their plans for life after leaving therapy.

    Modify treatment activities or approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients' status.

    Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting clients or patients.

    Meet with families, probation officers, police, or other interested parties to exchange necessary information during the treatment process.

    Perform crisis interventions with clients.

    Supervise other counselors, social service staff, assistants, or graduate students.

    Gather information about community mental health needs or resources that could be used in conjunction with therapy.

    Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling programs on clients' progress in resolving identified problems and moving towards defined objectives.

    Refer patients, clients, or family members to community resources or to specialists as necessary.

    Collaborate with other staff members to perform clinical assessments or develop treatment plans.

    Act as client advocates to coordinate required services or to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.

    Coordinate or direct employee workshops, courses, or training about mental health issues.

    Learn about new developments in counseling by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, or establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.



Personal computers

Notebook computers

Flatbed scanners

Digital medical thermometers

Desktop computers


Management information systems MIS

Microsoft Dynamics

Client information database systems

Netscape Navigator

Office suite software

Patient electronic medical record EMR software

Scheduling software

All Technologies

Spreadsheet software

Test interpretation software


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.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.


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

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Teaching others how to do something.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Operations Analysis

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Management of Personnel Resources

Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Identify and understand the speech of another person.

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Recognition

Speak clearly so others can understand you.

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Clarity

Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Fluency of Ideas

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

Come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Originality

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