What Are the Different Types of Psychotherapist Jobs?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
A psychotherapist might specialize in couples counseling.
A psychotherapist might specialize in couples counseling.

Different types of psychotherapist jobs vary by legal jurisdiction as well as the professional standards set by the mental health profession in specific areas. In the United States, for example, psychotherapists may offer individual therapy, group therapy, and therapy for families and couples. In addition, not all psychotherapists are members of the same mental health profession. Instead, some may be licensed as counselors, psychologists, or clinical social workers. Other mental health professionals who might offer psychotherapy include psychiatrists and art or music therapists.

Some therapists may decide to specialize in working with same-sex couples.
Some therapists may decide to specialize in working with same-sex couples.

Psychotherapist jobs are available in several different settings. Some therapists in private practice work out of their homes or a private office. Others may work in hospital settings, outpatient clinics, or residential treatment centers. Therapists sometimes also work in social service agencies, religious organizations, or schools. It is also not unusual for psychotherapists to operate in a group practice with other counselors, in some cases under the supervision and direction of a more experienced therapist.

While many different types of mental health professionals offer psychotherapy and counseling services, in some cases certain psychotherapist jobs may be more suited to someone with a particular educational and professional background. For example, psychiatrists are medical doctors who are able to prescribe medications to their patients and can evaluate a patient's physical condition. If a patient is in need of psychoactive drugs, working with a psychiatrist may be his best option. On the other hand, clinical psychologists are trained to offer psychological testing, which may be useful when diagnosing psychiatric conditions in patients who present a significant challenge to a therapist. Clinical social workers may be considered for psychotherapist jobs in the context of institutions, social service agencies, and mental health organizations because their training tends to be more community oriented.

Once a person is licensed to practice psychotherapy, he may be eligible for a variety of positions. Many therapists decide to specialize in one type of therapy model, such as group therapy or couples counseling. A therapist may also decide to specialize in treating specific types of concerns and conditions. For example, a person may wish to work exclusively with gay and lesbian couples or may choose to treat people who are struggling with substance abuse problems. In some jurisdictions, an individual may be able to pursue additional certification or licensure in a specialized area of psychotherapy. These credentials may be required in order to take certain psychotherapist jobs or to work in specific institutions or organizations.

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    • A psychotherapist might specialize in couples counseling.
      By: Burlingham
      A psychotherapist might specialize in couples counseling.
    • Some therapists may decide to specialize in working with same-sex couples.
      By: Felix Mizioznikov
      Some therapists may decide to specialize in working with same-sex couples.