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What does an Outpatient Therapist do?

Learn all about Outpatient Therapist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Outpatient Therapist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An outpatient therapist is a mental health professional who provides therapy to patients in an outpatient setting, such as a clinic, hospital, or private practice. Outpatient therapists treat a wide range of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. They use a variety of therapeutic techniques to help their patients achieve their treatment goals.

Outpatient Therapist job duties include:

  • Conduct initial patient assessments to determine appropriateness for therapy
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans
  • Provide individual, family, and group therapy
  • Coordinate care with other providers as necessary
  • Maintain clinical documentation in accordance with regulatory requirements
  • Provide crisis intervention and support as needed
  • Perform discharge planning and make referrals for continued care as needed
  • Participate in quality improvement initiatives
  • Attend trainings and workshops to maintain clinical skills

Outpatient Therapist Job Requirements

An outpatient therapist is a professional who provides therapy to patients who are not residing in a hospital or other type of inpatient facility. Outpatient therapists typically have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, and they must be licensed to practice in their state. Some outpatient therapists may also have specialized training or certification in a particular type of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or family systems therapy. In most cases, outpatient therapists have several years of experience working with clients before they begin working in an outpatient setting.

Outpatient Therapist Skills

  • Listening
  • Communicating
  • Empathizing
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Organizing
  • Time management
  • Stress management
  • Active listening
  • Cultural competence

Related: Top Outpatient Therapist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Outpatient Therapist

An outpatient therapist is a mental health professional who provides therapy to patients in an outpatient setting, such as a clinic, hospital, or private practice. Outpatient therapists typically have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, and many states require licensure.

If you’re interested in becoming an outpatient therapist, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you can apply to graduate programs in counseling or other mental health fields. During your graduate program, you’ll complete coursework and clinical training in assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, and psychotherapy. Once you’ve earned your degree, you can pursue licensure in your state.

Outpatient therapists typically work with patients who have mild to moderate mental health conditions. If you want to work with more severe cases, you may need to pursue additional training, such as a postgraduate certificate or doctorate in clinical psychology. With the right education and training, you can make a difference in the lives of those who need help managing their mental health.

Related: Outpatient Therapist Resume Example

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