What's next after working in mental health?
August 8, 2018 8:18 PM   Subscribe

What are some possible career next steps for someone currently working in mental health, who is looking to get out of the field?

Asking for a friend.

I have worked as a therapist and am currently in a position where I manage and supervise a team of therapists. I'm dissatisfied with this current position, and think it might be disillusionment with the broader field itself. (My company isn't awful and I don't think it's directly related to them.)

What are some possible alternative career paths for a former therapist? I have a LPC and a masters in clinical mental health counseling.

Things I like about therapy and the mental health field:

* Working directly with people
* Having a direct positive impact and influence on someone else's life
* Understanding someone's individual experience and perspective.

Things I do not like about therapy / the field / my current position:

* Everything that goes along with it: the broader state of health care in general and how difficult it is to access services, the politics behind all of that
* Having to meet billable expectations and miscellaneous performance expectations that are not indicative of the actual quality of care I or my team provides
* Management-specific paperwork (like performance evaluations etc.)
* The nebulous sense that you're spinning your wheels but nothing is happening — my therapists become better therapists, but quantifying "better therapist" isn't easy, and doesn't really matter for performance reviews. I can't pay them more because they're better at case conceptualization because pay is based on billable hours
* The pay. At a minimum, I would like to keep my current mental health pay, which is by no means exorbitant.

Other skill sets / interests that may be relevant:

* I studied engineering briefly in college and still enjoy that type of problem solving — I do a lot of woodworking that builds on this skillset
* I enjoy seeing practical, tangible results
* I'm good at creative problem solving
* I'm good at working with people, empathy & listening — I've been told I'm easy to work with
* I'm extremely handy
* I love learning new skills — I have a million different hobbies and am always looking for new ones to obsess over.

I'm considering starting a private practice, so that's on the table. But I'm looking for any other out-of-the-box career ideas I can ponder.
posted by good day merlock to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everything you wrote suggests to me that you’d make a great User Experience (UX) Reseacher or Designer.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:44 PM on August 8


Have you considered more of the health side? There is patient support for traumatic events that would lead one to an Level One Trauma ER in the US (car accidents, violence, house fires, that sort of thing). Many of those hospitals staff counselors. They don't provide what one thinks of as traditional behavioral health work, but does provide in the moment support for patient and families.

It's definately stressful and emotionally charged work . But can be pretty rewarding if it's your thing. Because of the nature of the counseling, it isn't nessisarily a billable service which also gives some freedom.

Red Cross has some similar types of employment opportunities.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:06 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


It very much sounds like you enjoy being a therapist but not being a manager of therapists. I would consider a context in which you can make a reasonable salary doing therapy without having to do the management portion. School psychologist? Private practice (which would not get you away from the problems of health care in this country, but not much will)?

Just a thought.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:18 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


You might consider working in Utilization Review for a managed care company or from a psychiatric inpatient or outpatient unit. You're still using your clinical skills, working with a treatment team of psychiatrists and nursing staff with a financial/business component to it. However, it's not direct care and it uses a lot of the same skill sets you've identified that you're good at.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 12:02 PM on August 9


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