8 Helpful Tips for New Therapists

8 Helpful Tips For New Therapists
8 Helpful Tips for New Therapists

You just started your career as a therapist with a determined mindset and a clear vision to help others. In this narrative, fear is a silent presence that makes a little noise every time you try something new. You should know that your fear is totally justified.

Navigating a new career is not a piece of cake. A career as sensitive as therapy has hurdles that are custom-designed to present you with unique challenges every step of the way.  You have to build good communication with your clients, comprehend their problems, and take care of your own mental health along the way. Facing and overcoming these challenges helps you build your skills and connections, adding to your experience.

Do you feel lost and demotivated as a new therapist? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are 8 helpful tips you can follow to take your career in therapy to new heights.

1. Choose a Specialty

Specialty education in counseling targets a specific area in psychology and teaches you everything you need to know about it. Post-graduate degrees like Masters and PhDs focus on a specialty.

Becoming a licensed therapist in the US is a tricky business. The United States monitors the standard in therapy through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In most states, having a master’s degree in a CACREP-accredited program is the minimum requirement to attain a license. In others, a PhD is a must.

When you choose a specialty in counseling, make sure that it is accredited by CACREP and meets the minimum requirements of your state. For example, if you plan to set up your practice in Texas, choose one of the Texas CACREP counseling programs to make your mark in therapy.

2. Build Your Network

Never underestimate the power of networking, especially when you are just starting out in your career as a therapist. A network of like-minded professionals broadens your horizons and opens your mind to new experiences.

Reach out to anyone and everyone related to your field in one way or another. This includes your former classmates, teachers, trainers, and acquaintances. You can also reach out to the professionals in your field whose work you admire.

The most common way to build your network is through online platforms. Conferences and seminars are a couple of other ways to get to know more people from your profession.

3. Choose a Mentor

Mentorship at the start of your career is very important. An experienced therapist who is guiding you through the rough patches, dead-ends, and unfamiliar territories of your career can only benefit you in the long run. That is what a mentor would do.

As you build your network, you might come across experienced therapists with vast experience. A little peek into their professional lives makes you admire their work and work ethic. Reach out to one of such individuals and ask them to be your mentor. Strike up a conversation with them regarding their experiences and you will find out that they are a well of information. Draw from their knowledge and experience. Consult with them regarding that one particular hurdle in your career that you can not seem to cross.

4. Create a Positive Work Environment

Setting up a therapy practice is not a one-person job. You need a whole team of professionals to run a successful set-up.

Whether you start working with another therapist or plan to open your own private practice, it is important to create a positive work environment. This includes being nice and professional with everyone, from administrators to the cleaning crew.

5. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

You start your career in therapy with a vigor and passion to change lives for the better. Your newfound vision urges you to work day and night to achieve your goals in record time. In your drive to succeed, you can forget that success is not achieved overnight. Exhausting yourself in the process will only drain you out of energy and confidence.

It is important to find a healthy balance between your work and personal life early in your career. As a new therapist, find your balance and work to maintain it. While you work with passion and determination, do not forget to spend some time with your family and friends. As you build your professional life, do not forget that your personal life also matters.

6. Stay Organized

Things may seem a little haphazard and unorganized at the start of your career. You struggle to manage your time with therapy sessions, paperwork, and personal commitments.

Staying organized is a struggle, but it is a struggle worth struggling for. Start by managing your time smartly, giving yourself little breaks here and there. Avoid setting unrealistic goals.

While you organize your time and tasks, organize your mind as well. Train your mind to dump extra thoughts on cue. This practice helps you build a good relationship with your clients during your sessions.

7. Prioritize Your Mental Health

You, as a therapist, know better than anyone the importance of mental health to lead a healthy life. While you listen to people discussing their mental health problems day after day, you forget that your mind also needs to declutter.

As you start your practice, you might feel a little down after a few days of giving therapy sessions. Sometimes, you come across a particularly complicated case and cannot stop thinking about it.

In such cases, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Even therapists need a therapist to keep them mentally healthy. Search for support groups for therapists, or seek therapy sessions with a professional.

8. Keep Learning

Education paves the way toward the career of your choice. However, the key to success is the realization that learning is a journey that goes on and on throughout your life.

You gain your therapy license after completing your degree, but that should not conclude your academic journey. When you step foot in your professional life, you learn that there is still a huge margin to learn.

Make efforts to learn new skills that are in demand in your field. Attend lectures, seminars, and conferences to boost your knowledge. Stay updated with the latest research in different therapeutic techniques.

The Bottomline

As you face new challenges at the start of your career, do not lose heart. Facing challenges and struggling to cross them does not mean failure. Train your mind to look for fresh perspectives and tackle your hurdles and challenges accordingly. Learn from other people’s experiences but do not forget to learn from your own experience as well.