What Does a Behavioral Counselor Do?

| Staff Writers

A behavioral counselor is a professional in the field of psychology who uses a variety of different therapies to help their patients change certain behaviors.

If you are pursuing a degree in psychology, it is very important to learn about the different paths that you can take as a professional in the field. In behavioral therapy, a professional will work with an individual patient to try and reinforce desirable behaviors and stop the ones that are not. A day in the life of a behavioral counselor will be exciting and busy. Read on, and learn exactly what a counselor specializing in behavioral psychology does.

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Working With Patients in a Specific Setting

What you will do in the field depends on the setting you work in. As a behavioral health counselor, you can work in private practices, mental health centers, support group settings, rehabilitation centers, community clinics and prisons. Depending on the setting that you work in, you may work with substance abuse patients, mental health patients, patients with eating disorders, or people in recovery. What you will do and how you will council your patients to modify behaviors will depend on if you are counseling in with individuals or with a group of people with similar problems.

What Type of Care Do the Counselors Provide?

Health counselors who reinforce some behaviors and eliminate others will provide ongoing care to their clients who are dealing with addictions or mental health issues. They will spend time with their clients speaking directly with their clients so that they can work them through their personal issues much like a counselor would. Some of the issues that you could treat and discuss include relationship problems, depression, anger management, suicidal tendencies, parenting, stress and more.

In addition to talking with patients, a counselor would assess their patients, diagnose specific mental health issues, treat the patient for substance abuse or other disorders, and assist with crisis management. It is very common for specialists in rehabilitation centers and other settings where crises are common to have to provide in-home counseling at odd hours to help patients fight their urge to pick up an old habit they are eliminating from their life. It is not uncommon to work with a team of physicians and health care professionals in a collaborative effort to treat a patient.

How to Become a Health Counselor

If you want to work in behavioral therapy, you will need to get formal training first. You will need to get your feet wet by earning your Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Counseling or Social work. You will then need to earn your Master’s in Clinical Psychology to prepare you for an advanced practice. With your Master’s and sufficient clinical experience, you will be able to test for your Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor certification. Check with your state to find out the exact requirements so that you can practice when you live.

If you are an analytical professional who is sensitive and compassionate, becoming a professional counselor working in behavioral therapy could be a great career choice. The first step is to get an education. Once you do that, you can start to get hands-on experience as an intern. Get licensed as a LPCC and then you can make a difference in the lives of many as a behavioral counselor.

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