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12 Therapist Skills: Definition and Examples

In order to be a successful therapist, there are a number of skills that are necessary. This article will provide definitions for twelve of these skills, including empathy, active listening, and nonverbal communication. By understanding these therapist skills, you will be better equipped to provide effective help to your clients.

Therapist Resume Example

Therapist Skills


Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages. It is a fundamental skill that is necessary for therapists to be able to effectively communicate with their clients. Therapists need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely in order to build rapport, understand client needs, and provide effective treatment.

Active listening

Active listening is a skill that therapists need in order to effectively communicate with their clients. It involves being fully present and attentive to what the client is saying, both verbally and non-verbally. It also involves reflecting back what the client has said, to ensure that they are being heard and understood. This skill is important because it helps build trust and rapport between therapist and client, and allows the therapist to gather important information about the client's needs.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It is a crucial skill for therapists, who must be able to understand their patients' experiences and emotions in order to help them.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is the process of sending and receiving messages without using words. It can include body language, facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact. Nonverbal communication is important because it can be used to communicate feelings, intentions, and messages that cannot be conveyed through words alone.

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a disagreement or dispute. It is often used in the context of interpersonal relationships, but can also be applied to conflicts between groups or organizations.

As a therapist, conflict resolution skills are important in order to help clients resolve disagreements and disputes in a healthy and productive way. This can promote better communication and understanding, and ultimately lead to stronger relationships.


Problem-solving is a skill that therapists need in order to help their clients find solutions to the problems they are facing. This skill involves being able to identify the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and then help the client choose the best course of action.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a judgement based on evidence and reasoning. It is an important skill for therapists because it allows them to determine the best course of action for their clients, and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.


Self-awareness is the ability to be aware of your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is important for therapists to be self-aware because it allows them to understand their own reactions to clients and to be aware of their own biases. Therapists who are self-aware can provide better care for their clients because they are able to understand their own reactions and motivations.

Cultural competence

Cultural competence is the ability to understand and work effectively with people from a variety of cultures. It is important for therapists to be culturally competent in order to best serve their clients. Many people seek therapy because they are struggling with issues related to their cultural identity. If therapists are not aware of or sensitive to their clients' cultural backgrounds, they may not be able to effectively help them resolve these issues.

Stress management

Stress management is a skill that helps you deal with stress in a healthy way. It can help you identify your stressors, manage your reactions to them, and find ways to reduce or eliminate your stress. Stress management is important because it can help you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

Professional boundaries

Professional boundaries are the limits that you set in order to maintain a professional relationship with your clients. You need them in order to protect yourself from becoming too emotionally invested in your clients, which can lead to burnout.


Self-care is important for therapists because it helps them to stay healthy and prevent burnout. It is also a way to model healthy behavior for their clients.

How to improve therapist skills

As a therapist, one of the most important things you can do to improve your skills is to keep learning. There are many ways to learn new things and keep up with the latest research in your field. One way is to read professional journals and books. Another way is to attend conferences and workshops. You can also take courses offered by professional organizations.

In addition to learning new information, it is also important to keep up with your clinical skills. This means practicing what you have learned and keeping your knowledge current. One way to do this is to participate in case consultations with other therapists. This can help you learn new techniques and get feedback on your own practice.

It is also important to be aware of your own biases and assumptions. We all have them, but they can interfere with our ability to provide effective therapy if we are not aware of them. Be willing to examine your own beliefs and values, and how they might be impacting your work with clients.

Finally, remember that therapy is a collaborative process between you and your client. The focus should be on meeting the needs of the client, not on proving how smart or successful you are as a therapist. When you keep this focus, you will be more likely to build trust and rapport with clients, which is essential for effective therapy.

How to highlight therapist skills

If you are a therapist, you may be wondering how to highlight your skills in a way that will make you stand out to potential clients. Here are some tips: First, consider what kind of therapist you are- are you a counsellor, psychotherapist, or something else? Each type of therapist has different skills and approaches that they bring to the table, so it is important to be clear about what kind of therapist you are. Once you have determined what type of therapist you are, start thinking about what your unique selling points are. What makes you different from other therapists out there? Do you have any specialties or areas of expertise? Are you particularly good at working with certain types of clients? Think about how you can convey your unique skills and approach in a way that will appeal to potential clients. This might involve creating a marketing campaign, writing an informative blog post or article, or giving a talk or presentation. Whatever route you choose, make sure that you are clear and concise about what makes you the best therapist for the job.

On a resume

In order to highlight your skills as a therapist on your resume, you should first consider what kind of therapist you are. Are you a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, etc.? Once you have determined your specialty, you can then begin to highlight your skills. If you are a physical therapist, for example, you might want to highlight your experience working with patients with injuries or chronic pain. If you are an occupational therapist, you might want to highlight your experience working with children or adults with developmental disabilities. No matter what your specialty is, be sure to include key words that will help potential employers find your resume.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, you'll want to highlight your skills as a therapist. You should include your experience working with clients, as well as your education and training in the field. You can also mention any specialties or areas of expertise you have. Be sure to detail how you can be an asset to the organization you're applying to, and why you're the best candidate for the job.

During an interview

In order to highlight your skills as a therapist during an interview, you should first be prepared to discuss your experience in the field. You should be able to speak confidently about your ability to provide therapeutic services to clients. It is also important to be able to articulate your understanding of the principles of therapy and how you would apply them in a clinical setting. Finally, it is helpful to have a few examples of successful outcomes you have achieved with clients in the past. By being prepared to discuss all of these topics, you will be able to effectively highlight your skills as a therapist during an interview.

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