We often hear about our society’s high regard for health professionals, yet most of us rarely know about the weight of their responsibilities to the community just for them to live up to their prestigious titles. One particular group of esteemed health professionals we have around are therapists.
Therapists are licensed medical practitioners who specialise in helping people who are mentally and emotionally disturbed, and provide them with treatment and rehabilitation. They use different theories and psychotherapeutic techniques to help their clients improve their cognitive and emotional state. Indeed, therapists work wonders not just in the lives of their patients, but also to their families and communities as well.
A therapist’s job consists of being able to effectively understand a client’s problem and to develop a treatment plan collaboratively with the client. This requires therapists to be resourceful and flexible so that they can treat their clients in an individualised way based on what their clients need and are able to do.
Duties and responsibilities of a therapist
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused overwhelming stress and panic to everyone. People felt lonely, isolated, and anxious. The impact of the pandemic upon the population’s mental health has led to an even greater need for therapists to deliver mental health care.
A good therapist will explain the therapeutic process step-by-step along with their preferred method of therapy. In addition, this career requires the ability to do the following:
Helping clients reflect on issues to make positive changes
It is part of the job description of a therapist to listen and encourage their client. A therapist must be kind, dependable, and empathic. It is necessary to show these abilities as a specialist in order to assist the client to feel more comfortable. It takes so much effort for a person to be kind, dependable, and emphatic to people whom they do not know. Therapists can do better. They help clients reflect on their life and emotional struggles.
Liaising with others (if needed) to help any changes happen
Therapists have strong interpersonal skills because this kind of career is about studying and helping individuals. Therefore, it is given that they know how to relate with people and establish rapport with their clients. They are not judgmental in all the activities that the client must and will undertake. As stated here, it is essential that therapists must not show rude behavior as they begin their counseling session until that relationship has been set up. In this line of work, patience is indeed a virtue.
Referring clients to other therapies
The therapist must collaborate with the client to assist and discover fruitful objectives and intervention procedures. It is their duty, too, to suggest therapies that will help the client recover. Here, the therapist becomes an immediate family who cares so much about the client’s wellbeing.
Setting up a contract to establish what will be covered in the sessions
The therapist will inform the client of the schedule and the therapeutic procedure they will undertake. It is his duty to remind the clients of their schedule and the sessions to be covered in a specified period of time.
Keeping up any confidential records
Therapists are trustworthy people. They keep the full confidentiality of their client’s information. They keep the information log in a safe place, and they ensure the client that everything will be kept.
Different kinds of therapists
A therapist’s work is oftentimes associated with that of psychologists, which is, of course, true. But, it can also include others who provide a variety of services like social workers, counselors, life coaches, and many others.
Marriage and family therapists
They are involved in helping families cope with the many issues affecting them. They also provide counselling to married couples whose marriage is on the brink of collapse, or even those with just minor issues.
Substance abuse therapists
They help people whose lives are ruined due to alcohol and drug addiction. They provide their patients with coping techniques to achieve self-control over their impulses.
Grief and loss therapists
They help patients cope with the pain due to the loss of a loved-one, such as death or long battle to fatal illness.
Child and adolescent therapists
They provide support and counseling to children and teenagers, together with their families. They help children who have behavioural issues like borderline personality, learning disabilities, family problems, and dealing with schools and grades. For adolescents, they provide help to those who have anxiety problems such as anxiety over growing pains, about getting a job, managing relationships, and so much more.
They deal with couples who are unable to overcome their marital issues and decide to have divorce.
They deal with a group of people who happen to have similar issues, issues that are specific to their commonality such as age, gender, social status, religious beliefs, etc.
Clinical social work therapists
They provide services to many different populations, both in urban and remote areas. They often work in the community with families who need intervention.
Skills of a good therapist
Therapists are skillful, too. They are trained to be versatile individuals because they deal with people who have different personalities. They possess the following skills:
Because their career is about studying and helping individuals, they have strong interpersonal skills, which means that they relate well to people coming from different walks of life.
Because treatment takes a lot of time, they will need a lot of patience to see the treatment through to its finality.
Therapists are trustworthy as they are expected to keep patient information confidential.
They must have the ability to understand and put their perspective to that of their patients’ experiences to help them understand the cause of their feelings.
Critical thinking skills
A therapist must have strong critical thinking skills to determine an accurate diagnosis and develop a proper treatment plan.
Therapists help people to explore, understand, and explain the feelings and emotions that are related to their experiences. This allows patients to reflect on what is happening to them and seek for alternative ways to heal. The aim of this career is to help people better understand themselves and the community they belong to so that they can live their lives freely and happily.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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