A career in therapy gives you the ability to help people in a wide range of situations, and you can even begin your degree program online. Depression therapists may operate their own practice, or they may find positions in hospitals or other organizations. Many therapists find the ideas behind depression quite fascinating, such as how it happens and how it goes away. If the human mind captivates you, and you're looking for a career where you can make a positive difference in people's lives, here's how to become a depression therapist:
- Get a bachelor's degree. A degree in psychology will prepare you for a career as a depression therapist. Your classes should also include training in counseling. Get the highest grades you can; to become a depression therapist, you will need to be admitted to graduate school following your undergraduate education.
- Do your research. During your undergraduate career, make sure that you are taking the right classes to prepare you for a Master's degree program. Read about all of the different branches of psychology to determine whether becoming a depression therapist would be a good fit for you. If you eventually determine that depression therapy isn't the way you want to go, there are plenty of other areas to use your education in psychology, such as child psychology, marriage counseling and behavior therapy.
- Get real-world experience. Looking for real-world experience in the area of depression therapy before you have your degree or licensing can be discouraging, but it is a very beneficial way to determine whether this line of work is right for you. If you can't find a paid or volunteer position working with a depressed population, consider asking depression therapists if you can follow or "shadow" them for a day or week. An internship is a great way to get real world experience while still in school.
- Get your Master's degree. Clinical psychology graduate programs are very competitive, but they can give you a major leg up. In nearly all cases, a Master's degree is a requirement before you can become a licensed therapist. Many depression therapists continue on to obtain a doctoral degree. Look for a program that is specific to depression therapy or one that provides you the education necessary to embark on a wider range of therapy careers.
- Become licensed. Licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Once your educational career is coming to an end, you'll need to be licensed as a therapist or as a clinical social worker. Look into your state's licensing requirements early; though education is always a component, there may be other steps to take before you can become licensed as a depression therapist.
- Open your practice. Once you are a licensed therapist, find a job within an existing organization or practice, or open your own.
Becoming a depression therapist will open up many doors for those who are looking for a career in which they can study the human mind and help people understand their own minds as they work to overcome depression. Online coursework is a great way to start on your new career path.