Your thoughts can cause self-destructive behavior or make mental illness worse, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Behavioral therapy -- also called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT -- is a form of treatment that helps people explore the relationships between what they think and how that affects their actions. Behavioral therapists come from several different disciplines, including medicine, psychology, counseling and social work.
The Psychiatrist's Couch
Psychiatrists practice behavioral therapy as well as traditional psychotherapy -- a more extensive examination of a person’s life history, experiences and motivations. They may also prescribe medications, such as antidepressants. Psychiatrists are physicians and must complete medical school and residency. All states require them to have a license. Most are also board certified. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports psychiatrists earned an average annual salary of $182,660 in 2013, with a range from $69,790 to $178,950. Psychiatrists in the lowest-paying state of Utah earned much less than the national average, at $86,260. Maine was the top-paying state, with an average annual salary of $232,310. The BLS projects demand for physicians and surgeons, including psychiatrists, to be 18 percent from 2012 to 2022, above the average for all occupations, projected to be 11 percent.
Psychology and Therapy
Clinical psychologists also practice psychotherapy and CBT. They aren't physicians, however, and can't prescribe medications. They must hold a Ph.D. in psychology to practice. Unlike some other psychology practitioners, clinical psychologists must have a license to practice in every state. The BLS reports the salary range for psychologists in 2013 was $39,020 to $112,380, with an average annual salary of $72,710. Clinical psychologists in West Virginia earned the lowest average salaries in 2013, at $50,770. The average salary in Hawaii, the highest-paying state, was much higher, at $120,990. The BLS predicts that job growth will be about average from 2012 to 2022, at 11 percent.
Counseling for Mental Health
Mental health counselors can't perform psychotherapy but do use CBT extensively in working with their clients. The goal is to help people understand harmful thoughts, feelings and beliefs and change their thinking patterns to be positive. Mental health counselors must have a master’s degree, complete an internship and have a state license. The BLS reports mental health counselors earned an average annual salary of $43,700 in 2013. Salaries could range from $25,840 to $67,020, however. Montana was the lowest-paying state for mental health counselors, with an average salary of $31,360. Mental health counselors in Alaska, the highest-paying state, earned much more, with an average salary of $57,040. Job growth for mental health counselors will be higher than average from 2012 to 2022, at 29 percent, according to the BLS.
Social Workers Are Therapeutic
Social workers specialize in different fields, but clinical social workers focus on mental health and perform CBT. Licensed clinical social workers, or LCSWs, diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional disorders but can't prescribe medication. They often collaborate with psychiatrists and psychologists in the care of their patients. LCSWs must have a master’s degree and two years of supervised clinical experience to get a license, as required in all states. Salaries in 2013 ranged from $31,690 to $81,770, according to the BLS. The national average annual salary was $56,060. LCSW salaries in Montana, the lowest-paying state, averaged $38,620, while Rhode Island offered the top wage of $70,860. Job growth for social workers will be higher than average from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS, at 19 percent.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physicians and Surgeons
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 29-1066 Psychiatrists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 19-3031 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 21-1014 Mental Health Counselors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Social Workers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 21-1022 Healthcare Social Workers
- Photo Credit alexsokolov/iStock/Getty Images
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