If you would like to become a treatment counselor, you must complete college and major in a course of study concentrating in areas of psychology, psychopathology and other courses in the social sciences. While a four-year degree is required to become a treatment counselor in most areas, preference is typically given with those applicants possessing a master's degree in the social sciences. You will also be required to take specific courses that focus on a particular counseling field, such as substance abuse, child development and marriage counseling. If you want to become a treatment counselor for marriage and family issues, you may want to take courses in sexual dysfunction and family dynamics as well.
In order to become a treatment counselor, you must have refined special skills which enable you to listen to people effectively and decipher subtle innuendo. College courses, such as counseling methods, often give training in the art of picking pertinent information out of seemingly useless ramblings. You will also be required to learn how to ask open-ended questions that will evoke a response from your client before you become a treatment counselor. You will not only learn what type of questions that should be asked, you will learn about the type of questions that should not be asked.
It is common to be asked to complete an application with a treatment facility in order to become a treatment counselor. You will be required to list all of your schooling information as well as any other experience that might qualify you to become a treatment counselor. You may be required to sit in on some counseling sessions with an experienced counselor prior to being assigned clients of your own. This is typical in most counseling fields. This type of experience is usually helpful in making a new counselor feel more at ease with running a treatment group.
Along with the group treatment services, you may be required to conduct individual counseling sessions. Often, college courses in public speaking or effective speaking will help you in this type of environment. In some particular counseling fields, such as juvenile behavioral counseling, criminal justice-based courses will also prove helpful if you hope to become a treatment counselor. Understanding the criminal justice system can aid in your ability to provide advice or being able to identify when you are being told untrue statements. Human development courses will also aid in your understanding of the human psyche.