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What is a good way for undergraduates to gain experience in therapy or mental health counseling?

I'm interested in pursuing a career in therapy or mental health counseling, perhaps in schools, but want to know what the experience is like before applying for graduate school in these areas. #health #mental-health-counseling #mental-health


I know about an organisation called 7cups, where you can become a trained online listener and converse with people who are struggling with some issue or the other. Although your job is not to provide therapy, you could see it as a starting point to understanding the kinds of mental heath issues that people might be dealing with, and communicating with them directly. I could share the link with you if you are interested. Saptarshi B.

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Amari’s Answer

If you want to see what it feels like to be a counselor, you could try volunteering first. Organizations like RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and the Trevor Project (for LGBTQ individuals) provide free 40-hour training for their hotline volunteers. You can volunteer from home using your own computer. This will help you to gain some experience as a crisis counselor before committing to graduate school to become a therapist. If you decide that it's a field you would like to pursue, your volunteer experience will look great on a resume!

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Nancy’s Answer

Besides community service volunteering, many colleges offer peer counseling programs. They are often run by the Dean of Students’ Office or the Psychological Services or Counseling Center. Students are trained in listening skills and problem-solving skills in order to prepare to become peer counselors on campus. Then they work in shifts, on a phone or in an office in the student union or similar place where students can walk in for support from a fellow student. Colleges know it is sometimes easier to talk to a peer first. Such a program is how I got my first counselor experience.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Tiffiny! Like the previous answer I would agree interning is important but it may be hard to find such options. Possibly ask you adviser or any professors who may have more detail on the subject as well. Usually professors may have opportunities or know of some that they can refer you to, especially if they are teaching classes in this area.

Best of luck!

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Judith’s Answer

Volunteering can give you many opportunities to experience what counseling others is like. I think that it’s important to find a situation where you are supervised by a licensed clinician. Often that can be found through a shelter for abused women. Or through a rape crisis hotline. These places often offer quality in service training that is very worthwhile.

I agree with Judith that volunteering is key. When I was pursing my masters in Counseling, I volunteered in a hospital trauma center to be available to support rape victims, children of sexual assault and answered calls from a rape crisis hot line. I also volunteered at a Homeless Shelter. These experiences were most valuable in pursuing future endeavors as they exposed me to a variety of ways in which I could serve the community, The experience was priceless. Randi Kretchman

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Priyanka’s Answer

Try to look for apprenticeship and internship. These are the best way to gain experience.

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