Have you been considering becoming a mental health counselor? First and foremost you have to believe that your dreams are achievable. Now is a good time to begin visualizing your dream…what does that dream look like? What are you doing? Who are you helping? What kind of problems are you helping your clients resolve? Take some time to write these ideas down.
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As I mentioned before just about anyone can get an advanced degree in counseling…the question becomes what will you do to set yourself apart…it is never too early to begin.
You need to begin NOW setting yourself apart as someone who is exceptional in the field…how do others see you: do you present yourself as a professional in all you do…whether you are currently working in Walmart or the fast food industry, do you make sure that you exceed the standards and expectations of your employer?
The number 2 thing you need to know to have a successful mental health counseling career more than ever, you must find your niche.
- A niche is a specialty – an area of expertise that is highly specialized.
- People with Masters degrees in MH counseling are a dime a dozen.
- 3. A niche is a specialty area – nutritional counseling, working with a specific clientele: people of a certain religious faith, sexual orientation, disability, illness, lifestyle, diagnosis, ability etc. There are a million different areas you can carve out a niche for yourself..
- 4. Within each specialty there could also be subspecialties:
- nutritional counseling with substance abuse, eating disordered, diabetics, obese individuals
Complicated grief – working with veterans and their families or the children of veterans
Specific skills: Hypnosis, EMDR, other energy therapies are being found to be very effective in treating trauma victims.
You may be wondering how you can begin establishing your niche even before you begin your career or without any college education…well you can:
- Spend time reading books, articles and journals in subject areas that are of interest to you…become an expert even before you begin your advanced degree.
- Look for employment in the field or niche area – for example become a receptionist at a pediatricians office, if you want to work with children.
- Work in a special needs class room as an aide if you want to counsel special needs children and their parents.
- Interested in working with seniors or Alzheimer patients and their families – volunteer at a local nursing home.
It is never too early to begin doing these things. And if you do these things, I can guarantee you that you will be setting yourself apart from about 80-90 % of others going for the same degree.
Hope this tip gave you some good food for thought. You’ll find Tip #3 here.
All the best to you!