There are many different kinds of mental health therapist jobs, but the primary difference between each job is the typical clientele. For example, some jobs involve working primarily with addicts, while other jobs might involve working with children. With whom one is likely to work is determined partially by the organization for which a person works and partially by a person's specialization. Almost all mental health therapist jobs involve working with patients in some capacity, but it is sometimes possible to find work as a writer or researcher in the field of mental health.
Among the many different mental health therapist jobs, the most common broad category of jobs involves working with patients in a variety of settings. A therapist might work in a hospital or in a private practice or might be employed by another type of agency to work with a particular type of patient. Some mental health therapist jobs involve seeing clients over a long period of time, while others involve simply determining what the patient needs in order to make it through an immediate situation.
The different organizations offering mental health therapist jobs often cater to highly divergent patients. One might work with a military health group providing therapy to veterans, for example, or one might work at a women's shelter providing services to survivors of domestic abuse. Usually, having some experience working with the group to which the organization caters can be useful when trying to obtain a job.
When a person offers therapy from his or her own practice, the duties of the job are as narrow or as broad as the therapist desires. This type of job has the benefit of being entirely self-directed, but it is riskier than taking a traditional position at a hospital or clinic. A person who has complete control of a practice might choose, for example, to work only with people who are grieving or only with celebrities. In this setting, mental health therapist jobs can be extremely diverse.
While almost all mental health therapist jobs involve working with patients in some capacity, it is possible to take the training used to become a mental health therapist and use that knowledge to start work in a different profession. Advice columnists, for example, might benefit from a background in mental health, as would people writing self-help books. With appropriate qualifications, someone can often teach others to become therapists. This type of experience is useful in a number of different fields, and a properly qualified individual might be able to turn a career as a therapist into something quite different.