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What Is a Therapist [Psychotherapist]? – The Complete Definition

Psychotherapists are licensed mental health professionals that specialize in helping clients improve their cognitive and emotional skills and manage various life challenges. This is just the beginning of being a psychotherapist in adelaide. Understanding the various therapeutic approaches, licensure and titles is essential to fully understand what a psychotherapist does.

This article explains everything about therapists and the work they do. If you are interested in becoming a therapist or learning more about the profession, keep reading.

How Therapists Define Who They Are and What Their Tasks Are

We asked the title question to a variety of therapists within and outside the Talkspace network in order to better understand the role of a therapist. Although each answer was different, they all paint a picture about what a therapist looks like. These are some of the answers.

“A psychotherapist helps people find their strengths and have the courage to confront and make sense difficult emotions and experiences in order to learn and thrive.” Shannon McFarlin (Talkspace Therapist)

“A psychotherapist offers support, positive regard and compassion, guidance, a level or accountability, advocacy at times, a listening ear, and sound clinical advice.” – Candice Christianen, CMHC

Shannon Battle, LPC. “A clinically-trained helper who uses an integrated approach to help others heal.”

Erika Martinez, Psy.D.

“A psychotherapist helps people remember that they are worthy.” Perpetua Neo Therapist

What does a Therapist do?

Therapy is a collaborative effort between therapists and clients to address mental health issues. However, some therapists work in clinical research or consulting settings.

Here’s a list of services that therapists offer their clients:

  • Listening
  • Analyzing current issues
  • Analyzing the impact of the past on our present
  • Client comfort
  • Clients can be helped without having to rely on a family member or friend.
  • Diagnoses of mental health conditions
  • Reduce symptoms of mental illness
  • Assisting clients with managing symptoms of mental illness
  • Clients are helped to change their thinking and maladaptive behavior.
  • Clients and others can be helped to understand each other
  • Teaching communication, cognitive, and emotional skills
  • How to teach clients how to resolve professional, emotional and relational conflicts
  • Counseling clients in crisis situations such as abuse, suicide, suicidal thoughts and grief.
  • Clients taught how to improve their relationships and create new ones
  • Clients can learn self-help skills like deep breathing, meditation, and thinking exercises.
  • Provide non-directive advice or suggestions, depending on the therapist
  • Referring clients to psychiatrists or mental health facilities, or medical professionals if needed
  • Clients learning to love and accept their selves
  • Therapy and mental illness therapy: Reducing stigmatization and shame

Are Therapists the same as Counselors, Psychologists, etc.

The term “Therapist” encompasses counselors, psychologists, and psychotherapists. These terms are often interchangeable and have the same meaning in the context of helping clients improve their mental health.

It is up to you to choose which one you prefer. In certain areas of the world, “therapy” or “therapist” are more popular than “counseling” and “counseling.”

These terms are often used interchangeably with “therapist”

  • Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist is a term that distinguishes mental health therapists and physical, occupational or massage therapists.

Some of the differences in these terms are due to their connotations, other than working with clients. Although “therapist” is often used to describe someone who works with clients, “psychologist” can also be used to mean someone who conducts research.

Psychologists is a term that some mental health professionals prefer to use. Their work isn’t necessarily more complex than that of therapists. Others use the term to highlight their research background or education. Some psychologists do not spend time with clients, but instead focus on research.

Psychologists can also act as therapists. They are specially trained doctors in mental health medicine. They are the only therapists who can prescribe medication. There is no evidence to suggest that therapists are more effective than psychiatrists and psychologists. Each of these professionals can address different issues using different methods in most cases.

What is the Salary of a Therapist?

A therapist’s salary range will vary depending on their education, extra credentials, location, type of client they see and work environment. The minimum salary is $30,000 per year, while the maximum is over $129,000. For example, a New York City-based therapist would earn more than a therapist who has a Ph.D.

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What kind of education and licensure does a therapist need?

To legally practice psychotherapy, all therapists must have a master’s degree. There are many types of licenses. Each one specifies the service that the professional can provide. These licenses are issued by the state. They include:

  • Doctor of Psychology [Psy.D.]
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker [LCSW]
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist [LMFT]
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor [LMHC]
  • LPC Licensed Professional Counselor

These licenses permit therapists to only practice psychotherapy in the state in which they are licensed. However, the license allows them to practice psychotherapy online and interact with clients from any country through an online therapy mode.

One of the social-work licenses raises the question of similarities between a social worker and a therapist. While both professions aim to improve people’s lives, there are important differences.

Therapists can serve as social workers if they have clinical experience. Social workers, on the other hand have no clinical experience and are not licensed as therapists.

Where do therapists work?

It’s not difficult to picture where certain types of professionals work. Lawyers work in law firms. Police officers work on their beat at a station, while police officers are at the police station. Doctors tend to patients at hospitals.

Therapists are able to work in many locations depending on what their work entails and the clients they serve. These are the most popular locations, along with a description of what kind of work therapists do there.

  • Community Center – Working with clients from certain underprivileged communities and with groups that struggle with addiction
  • Hospital: Provides mental health support for hospitalized patients with serious mental health problems.
  • Mental Health Clinic: Federally-funded clinics and centers that offer discounted or free mental healthcare
  • Military Facility: Helping military personnel cope with combat-related stress or trauma
  • Online: This online therapy allows therapists the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime.
  • Private Practice: Treating multiple clients from a particular physical location
  • Psychiatric hospital: Treating patients with severe mental conditions that make it difficult to live a normal life
  • Schools and Universities are available to students to help them transition to college, manage academic stress and treat mental health conditions
  • Workplace: Some companies and organizations employ therapists to help their employees. Research shows that employees with good mental health are more productive.

Myths about what a Therapist is

We need to understand what a psychotherapist is before we can fully comprehend what one is. Many people have misconceptions about the practice of psychotherapy. These are some common myths.

Misconception: A Therapist is Like a Friend. You pay to listen to you

The idea that a therapist is just a friend for hire reduces the amount of training and education they have received so that they can help clients with their mental health. Six years is the average length of training for therapists. Many therapists have worked with clients for decades.

Misconceptions: A Therapist Will Tell You What To Do

Many therapists won’t tell you what to do. Therapists are not like coaches in sports. They aren’t passive observers who shout orders.

Therapy works with clients to help them develop the skills they need to live a better life and to make positive choices to avoid relapse. A therapist should empower you to manage your problems yourself and not make you dependent on their support.

Misconceptions: A Therapist Can Read Minds

Therapists don’t try to guess your thoughts or get inside of your head.

Because he or she wants to help you, your therapist will be curious about what you think. Talk therapy will require you to share information about your life and struggles to help you make progress and solve your problems. You only share what you tell them. This is what makes them different than your family members or friends. Your therapist will help you make progress on your issues if you have more to share.

Since Freud, the definition of a psychotherapist has changed and is continuing to change

Sigmund Freud, the first person to apply scientific research to mental health, developed psychoanalysis and other theories to treat mental illness symptoms. Freud maintained that psychiatrists and therapists had sole responsibility for treating mental illness. This is not the current definition. Therapists can still be there to support people when things are going well.

Since Freud, therapy has changed a lot. Talk therapy is now more popular and sustainable than Freud’s theories and psychoanalysis. Since Freud’s death, there has been a shift in therapy. It now places more emphasis on clients’ holistic well-being and not just their immediate symptoms. Carl Rogers’s client-centered therapy approach focuses on the person and their issues. Most therapists today use an integrated approach to treating mental illness. The most popular psychotherapeutic approaches are cognitive behavioral therapy and humanistic therapy.

Perpetua Neo, therapist, said that the term “therapist” can be used in different ways depending on who is being used. “I approached it from a practical perspective.”

Neo’s work has evolved over the years to include helping others accept themselves and build self-worth. Her therapy approach will continue to evolve with her clients, she believes.

Neo and thousands of other therapists all over the world will continue to develop their individual approach to therapy and expand the services they offer to clients. The term “therapist” will continue taking on more meaning. However, technology advances are expanding the definition of what it means for a therapist with the introduction of online therapy as a psychotherapeutic intervention.

For decades, therapy was primarily about seeing clients in person and communicating with them verbally. Online therapy is now possible for therapists to communicate with their clients from anywhere, anytime. Talkspace allows therapists to communicate with their clients via text, video or audio message. They can also schedule live video sessions.