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What are good places to start looking into being a therapist and what are things I can do to start preparing to take this career path in high school?

I am a sophomore in high school and I am interested in becoming a therapist, but don't know exactly where to start research or how to become prepared. Thank you!

Thank you comment icon Jenna seems to have covered it all! Good luck! James Whalen

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Noah’s Answer

Hey Sarah, I think it's awesome that you're interested in becoming a therapist. I'm also working on becoming a therapist (a sophomore too) and i've spend A LOT of time researching this stuff. To become licensed you will need to obtain a masters degree and have supervised experience, usually something like clinical mental health counseling or some other relevant masters program. You will want to make sure that the program is CACREP accredited. Before obtaining your masters you will need to get a bachelors. They prefer a psych-related major but really it can be anything as long as you take one or two psych courses (I suggest psych stats as it is often a prerequisite). Since you're in high school there isn't tooooo much that you can do atm but if your school has it, then taking ap classes or dual enrolling at a local community college would be amazing. CLEP and Sophia are also frickin great resources for earning college credit but they are less formalized and are virtually never handled by the highschool so you'd have to seek them out yourself. I can provide some info for that if you'd like too.

You could also go the doctoral route with either a PhD (if you prefer research) or a PsyD (if you just want to do clinical stuff/just therapy). This can cost more and often take a few more years but you'll be able to be a clinical psychologist and probably command a higher salary, research opportunities and possibly other experiences that the masters program may not afford. I suggest going with a masters if you are at all interested in private practice counseling or just want to get into doing therapy-work as soon as possible. Private practice can be intimidating as it can be kinda like running your own business but there's a ton of tools and resources online that can help you with that. There's one youtube channel with a bunch of good info that I can link if you'd like.

Hopefully I didn't confuse you too much and feel free to ask any more questions, i'd be happy to answer :)

Noah recommends the following next steps:

Take a look at your states requirements for professional counselors (essentially therapists) LPC as well as licensed psychologists LP and see which one you prefer.
Consider your other interests and what bachelor's major you might be interested in.
Explore masters in clinical counseling programs
Take as many college credit classes as you can rn (it will save you a lot of money and time later)
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Theresa’s Answer

If you can take a psychology class or class about human behavior at your high school, that’d be a great place to start. I took psychology my senior year of high school, fell in love and the rest is history!
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mark’s Answer

Hi Sarah,

The responses you have gotten so far are amazingly comprehensive and informative. I would like to add that speaking with people who are already working as therapists would be a good idea as well. Learning about the field and hearing from those in the field should help you gain insight into how you would like to go about pursuing your interests. I think you will find many therapists who would be willing to communicate with you about their experiences in the field. This information might help shape your plans as you prepare to enter the profession.
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Mustabsheera’s Answer

Hi, Sarah!
Hope you are doing well.

I am an Associate Psychologist and Behavior Therapist.

The simplest way to become a Therapist is mentioned below.

1. Bachelor in Psychology.
2. Master in Clinical or Counseling Psychology.




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Jenna’s Answer

Hi Sarah, I would say that anything relating to mental health and working with people, ideally diverse populations, would be a great way to begin to build relevant skills. This could be things like volunteer work (ex. local food banks), staffing a summer camp, attending a meditation/spiritual retreat, etc. Even working a customer service job where you are developing skills like building relationships, providing warmth and comfort, and gaining confidence in working one on one with others can all be applicable. I want to add that although it may feel important to do the 'right' things to look good for future applications, it is even more valuable to explore your own interests/yourself. As a therapist, your ability to be aware, honest, and understanding of who you are will allow you to do your best work.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Sarah
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