When we think about a career change, many of us are drawn to careers that would allow us to help others and use our skills to make life easier, better, or safer for others. This can be especially true when we are a little older, have transferable skills, and have been through plenty of challenges ourselves. One of the most appealing careers for people who want to help others is therapy. Many people, at some point, consider becoming a therapist. While this is undoubtedly a fulfilling career and a great way to help others, it isn’t suitable for everyone. If you are considering a career in therapy, these are some of the questions you should ask yourself.
Are You Ready to Learn?
One of the first questions you might have is, what degree does a therapist need? But it’s important to understand that to be a great therapist, your learning won’t end after finishing your degree. Mental health and our knowledge of it is constantly evolving, so you’ll need to learn and develop throughout your career.
Do You Consider Yourself a People Person?
Being a therapist involves meeting a vast range of different people with different personalities and characteristics. You’ll have to build trusting working relationships with them without judging or allowing your preconceptions to affect you. If you prefer to be alone and struggle to approach new people, this might not be the right path for you.
Are You a Great Listener?
Listening is one of the most important skills that all therapists need. Think about your recent conversations. Do you talk more than you listen? Do you frequently interrupt people? Are you good at extracting important information when people are speaking?
You can become a better listener, so don’t worry if you aren’t quite there but some good skills will help you to get started.
Are You Trustworthy and Approachable?
Are you the sort of person that people feel comfortable confiding in? In other jobs and areas of life, have people found it easy to approach you with problems or concerns? Everything from our body language and smiles to the way we dress can help us be trustworthy and approachable.
Do You Like Solving Problems?
Being a therapist is a little like being a problem solver, but sometimes, you must first dig deep to find out what those problems are. If you enjoy solving problems and finding solutions instead of waiting for things to blow over or right themselves, you could become a great therapist.
Are You Patient?
Those problems don’t always reveal themselves quickly. Some patient relationships will be very long-term. It might take some clients a long time to really open up, and even then, the solutions can take time to process. If you like results immediately, you might have to learn to be more patient.
Do You Have Good Coping Strategies and a Strong Support Network?
Being a therapist can be challenging. There will be stressful and even upsetting days. You’ll need coping strategies and a good support network to be good at your job and protect your mental health.
If you’ve said yes to all or many of these things, then a career in therapy might be the right choice for you. With plenty of different specialties, take some time to explore options and look at courses before you commit.