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How do you become a therapist?

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A student can become a therapist by choosing an area of speciality that interests him and obtaining a master's or doctorate degree in that field. Students can specialize in fields such as clinical psychology, substance abuse therapy or social work.

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Students may consider working with children, in which case they would become social workers or clinical psychologists. Those interested in working with couples or families can specialize in mental health counseling or marriage and family counseling. Clinical psychology and mental health counseling also allow students to treat people suffering from substance addiction.

The chosen degree determines the level of access to certain specialties. Students who attain doctorate degrees can get into clinical psychology and establish private practices. Getting a doctorate degree takes anywhere from four to eight years after completing undergraduate studies. A person with a master's degree in psychology can become fully licensed, but states have different guidelines regarding what services can be provided.

The master's degree in counseling is for students who wish to work with families and children. A total of 60 credits are required to complete the program, and the process takes two or three years. Nurses can attain a degree in advanced psychiatric nursing if they are interested in the mental health aspect of their field.

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