Step-by-step guide to become an outstanding mental health counselor

Mental health counselor (MHC) plays an important role in communities, schools, and workplaces, as almost everyone now is considerably focusing on their mental health. However, who can become a mental health counselor, and how?

Step 1: Understand mental health counselor-description and responsibilities.

Before people starting to decide their major and the job they will devote themselves to, the first step always is to fully understand the definition and duties of that. Here, a mental health counselor is someone who helps individuals, families, and groups to treat a series of mental and emotional health problems.

Get to know what is a mental health counselor?

Counselors work with diverse people and offer therapies for every specific situation, which may be associated with stress management, aging, disabled, parenting, substance abuse, etc. Many of them, for example, who work in individual and family services, residential and university care centers and local government, have possessed the ability and knowledge in varied therapeutic techniques to prepare a systematic plan for their patients or clients.

Step 2: Learn Best Tips to become a mental health counselor

To be a mental health counselor, what you must do is completing the bachelor's and master's degree, passing any required tests and possessing the mental health certifications. Despite education and training, there are also some small tips that an outstanding mental health counselor should know.

Find out what tips are valued to be a professional mental health counselor

  • Be patient: Patience is a habit you should form if you want to be a mental health counselor. There is a large probability that people you serve do not talk to you freely after a very long time. For example, you can never easily approach the world from an autistic child. At that time, never give up on any single person that you have the ability to help.

  • Be humorous: Similarly, trying to be humor if you are not. The process of counseling can be uncomfortable and oppressive in a tiny room. Telling some jokes or stories may encourage patients to overcome their fear in a relevantly relaxing way.

  • Be a good Listener: Everyone needs to be a good listener, no matter cooperating with a group at work or chatting with friends in university. During the consultation, the counselor needs to fully understand the feeling and the problem that the patient is suffering from, by listening to not only the story but the deep meaning behind that.

  • Do self-reflection:If you are adapted to rethinking your everyday life, you may have acquired a necessary quality of being the mental health counselor. The thoughts and acts of a mental health counselor will affect patients, especially when they feel lost in their world. To an extent, only when a counselor is able to do the objective evaluation of themselves and bring enthusiasm and honesty to life, they can offer a good guide to others.

Step 3: View Best colleges and universities for mental health counselor

Here, we have found some top colleges and universities for being a mental health counselor. Adams State University, North Carolina Central University and the University of the Cumberland, whose graduates are seen as the most sought after, take the top three places.

After those three, the remaining top 20 universities are shown as below:

  1. Boston College in Massachusetts
  2. Liberty University
  3. George Washington University
  4. Lamar University
  5. University of Wisconsin
  6. Colorado Christian University
  7. Regent University
  8. Grace College
  9. Marquette University
  10. Western Michigan University
  11. University of Louisiana at Monroe
  12. Clemson University
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. North Carolina State University
  15. St. John's University
  16. Grand Canyon University
  17. West Virginia University
  18. University at Buffalo
  19. Northcentral University
  20. Herzing University

What kind of schools can I choose?

As mental health counseling is a large field, deciding the area you will study is important. The courses include psychopathology and diagnosis, professional and ethical issues, psychopharmacology, trauma impact and counseling, sexual trauma and domestic violence, etc.

You can select colleges/universities based on your own conditions and expectations, such as school reputations, tuition fees, major field, required credits, required language skills, accreditation, teaching environment, etc.

Step 4: Think about whether is it worth to be a mental health counselor

Before starting entering this field, ask yourself whether it worth is to be a mental health counselor and what return you will get. Psychic trauma is invisible, still many people cannot realize and seek help as when they bleed until it turns to be frightful. The existence of mental health counselors sometimes becomes light in their dark life.

Is being a mental health counselor worth?

According to the available data, approximately one-quarter of the people from all over the world will suffer from mental, emotional or neurologic diseases in some stages of their life. The one who intends to become a mental health counselor may not be only because of the increased need but also for the desire to help others to overcome their problems. At that time, nothing can be more valuable when you save someone's 'life'.

On the other hand, it is also worth noting the problem that people may be unwilling to construct their spiritual world independently when seeing the counselor is a 'routine' for everyone.

Step 5: Prepare relevant skills for mental health counselor

On the way to be the specialist in this scientific field, a mental health counselor needs to acquire both basic and extending skills from the process of learning and training.

What requirements to become a mental health counselor?

  • Academic knowledge: The knowledge you learn from university is always the fundamental for this career.

  • Interpersonal skills: As counselors work with various patients, good interpersonal interaction, including communication mode, body language, and eye contact, could tie the relationships and build trust between them.

  • Research skills: In this complicated field, all treatments need base on a great quantity of research. No one can meet every symptom from their patient. The ability of research provides a useful back-up to find an accurate direction of therapies.

  • Critical thinking skills: The analysis of a patient's circumstances, plans of therapies have a chance to approach perfect, only if critical thinking is used.

Step 6: Find relevant mental health counselor jobs, and apply it.

After graduating, the skills you gain from mental health counseling also allow you to transfer to other relevant jobs.

Where can I find relevant jobs (

Almost every university set career connect for graduates, or you can search online. Here are some relevant jobs as reference: Marriage and parenting therapies, substance abuse counselors, child psychology counselors, behavioral disorder counselors, rehabilitation counselors, school and career counselors, university teachers.

Develop your career path

If you are near to be graduated, make sure you have fully considered the career and start to develop your career path.

What is a mental health counselor's career path?

When you think about a career path of being a mental health counselor, you may notice some information that the field of mental health counseling is developing by leaps and bound with a 23% growth rate between 2016 and 2026. So you will meet many chances as long as you gain all the required licenses. For the first one or two years after graduating, you may spend time doing internships, in the meanwhile, prepare exams for relevant certifications, which are promoting your career path. Then, you have the choice to work in a mental health center or hospital, university, etc. You may even open your own clinic after becoming a specialist.

What does a Mental Health Counselor do?

People's Opinions on Mental Health Counselor responsibilities

As a Mental Health Counselor, you work in a youth home, hospital, rehabilitation center, assisted living facility, or employee assistance center.

10/16/2020: Hollywood, FL

Mental health counselors use a variety of approaches to help their clients develop the emotional resilience and interpersonal skills to navigate life's challenges.

10/6/2020: Berkeley, CA

Mental health counselors provide psychological care to patients suffering both acute and chronic mental or psychological difficulties.

9/9/2020: New Castle, DE

Mental health workers need to have a combination of practice experience, intuition, empathy, and education in order to be successful.

8/22/2020: Lebanon, PA

Some other job titles for this occupation include behavior analyst, behavior support specialist, mental health specialist, and counselor.

8/1/2020: Atlantic City, NJ
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What skills do you need to be a Mental Health Counselor?

People's Opinions on Mental Health Counselor skills

Mental health counselors also deal with people from diverse backgrounds, so they must be sensitive to ethnic, cultural and economic issues.

10/15/2020: Inglewood, CA

Despite their scope of practice mental health counselors may work with adults, children, adolescents or families with a multitude of issues including school problems, trauma, career counseling need, mental health disorders, addiction and disability.

9/25/2020: Orem, UT

The ability to inspire confidence, trust and respect, along with a strong desire to help others are key traits of mental health counselors.

9/15/2020: Avondale, AZ

Through formal education and hands-on training, counselors learn interpersonal, communication, listening, research, and critical-thinking skills to help them heal their mentally ill and traumatized patients.

9/3/2020: San Antonio, TX

To be a great counselor, you should attend regular conferences, CE classes, workshops, and continue to read as much as you can about new ways of providing mental health counseling, based upon cutting edge research.

8/5/2020: Lake Oswego, OR
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