How to become a mental health professional | Kati Morton

How to become a mental health professional | Kati Morton

– Hey everybody, today
I want to talk to you about how you can possibly
become a therapist. (piano music) So like I said, I want to
talk to you today about how you can become a therapist. I hear from many of you all the time, Kati how do I become a therapist like you? How do I get into the mental health field? Or how do I? So there are obviously
many different paths and many different ways
you can get involved in mental health as a whole. But what I’m going to share with you today just for the fact that
this is a video and I kind of want to keep it
streamlined, is how I, myself, became a marriage and family therapist. Like I am today. How did I get here. And I obviously live in the states, so if any of you are in
other countries and you have information on the paths that
people take in your country, can you let us know below
because I know I have International viewers
and I want to make sure we have the most information out there, so that everybody can get what they need. Now, the first thing is, you have to go to a four-year university. And for me, I majored in psychology and music because I like to sing. But all you have to major in is psychology or I think we even had
someone in our masters program who majored in sociology,
but I would encourage you stick with what you want
to do, major in psychology. And from there, so you graduate
with a four year degree, yay I have my bachelors yay,
but you’re not done yet. Then I took a year off
and I studied for my GREs which in the states is
the kind of the SAT or ACT for grad school. So it’s your basic entry
level exam where you get your little score and you put it on
your grad school application. And it kind of helps you get into the grad school that you want. So once you’re done with your four years, you want to find a graduate program that has either a masters in
marriage and family therapy like me or a masters in clinical social work which is a very similar realm to mine. So you find a couple of universities, I think I applied to four grad schools. So, your going to want to
find a couple of options. You’re going to take your GREs, you’re going to attend graduate school. And what they don’t tell you
in graduate school is that the field you’re going into
doesn’t make a lot of money. And I’m sorry, I wish I
could report that I’m rich and I own a house, but I don’t. Its very depressing, but I like helping people
and its honestly what I enjoy doing most, so that’s what I like to do, but don’t be fooled if they
tell you this is like the best thing ever and you’re going
to make a gazillion dollars. Because unless you’re Dr.Phil,
that’s just not happening. I’m sorry. So, we finish graduate school
and at that point even when you’re in graduate school you
begin working with clients. And you’re going to see your
first client and you’re going to be so nervous. Mine was a nine-year-old
girl, and luckily for me it was a kid and so she didn’t
even know I was nervous, but I was really nervous. And so you’re going to
see your first client and they’re going to talk you through it. You’re going to have supervision groups and you’re going to continue
that out of graduate school. That’s part of your 3,000 hours. For many of you who have been
following me for a long time, you know I finished my
3,000 hours over like a year and a half ago and then I had to study for my licensing exams. So, so far just to summarize and make sure you’re following me. We have a four year degree,
we go to graduate school, get our two year degree,
and then we get out and we continue to gather our 3,000 hours. After that’s done, you
apply to the board of Behavioral Sciences in your state and you sit for your licensing exams. Now, ours is a two-portion exam, which I believe in all 50
states it’s all two part exams, but there are different
requirements on the number of hours that you have to accrue. Like I know in New York, its 1,500, but in California, its 3,000. So then we sit for our licensing exams and then we’re free agents. I have my own license, I
can have my own office, I don’t have to have a supervisor anymore. And that’s really how
you become a therapist. I you want to specialize in something, really the main way you become specialized is by working in the field. I worked in a eating
disorder residential program, I worked in a eating
disorder IOP PHP program, like on the outpatient basis. I see them in my practice. I also worked in a hospital with more schizophrenic-bipolar patient
types, so it’s all up to you. So when you first get
out of graduate school or when you’re in graduate school, I would try out different places. Don’t go in thinking I have to specialize in this and this is the
only thing I can do, because I initially
though I wanted to work with kids and do developmental psychology. And I had my first run in with that and that did not work for me. So, be open to different
options and different specializations because we don’t
know until we do it, right? But don’t worry, if you yourself
have struggles of mental health in your past, that’s
not going to prohibit you from being in the mental health field. All that I would really
encourage, encourage isn’t even a strong enough word, I would
urge you to work on your own issues before you get into
the field because we can’t help others if we can’t
help ourselves, right? And if I didn’t practice what I preached, then I don’t feel that I’d
be a very good therapist. And I have people that
I’ve referred clients to and they felt like they
were trying to work out their own issues in their therapy session. We want to make sure we’re not doing that. We want to do the best
thing for our clients, so if you want to get into the field, the first thing I would do
is find your own therapist and start working on your own stuff because we’ve all got
our own stuff, right? But nothing should stop you from achieving your dreams and getting
the career you want. So, I hope that helps, I
hope that that kind of gives you a little guidance and
a little road map about what I did to get to where I am. And know that you can be here too. Have a good one and
I’ll see you next time. Television should go off
three hours before bed time? But that’s just not realistic
for me, maybe it is for you. Hey try it, let me know.



  • Neongreengirl06

    This is so me I want to become a therapist when u get older so bad

  • ihartevil

    thx for this awesomely ha bisky vlog i enjoyed the honesty that you gave about how hard that job is and it makes me appreciate you even more

  • Drenna Boyd

    I absolutely love the view behind you πŸ˜‰

  • Pantelina

    I loved hearing about this! Here in Cyprus we have mostly private universities that follow the US programme. 4 years major in psychology for bachelors and then another 3 graduate school and then you collect hours! But most of the cypriots dont study here so i know that in Uk is 3 yrs bachelor but in 2nd year you can stop and gather hours before going back and graduating

  • Katie C

    thank you for this info!! so helpful πŸ™‚

  • Finn Manning

    Are you ever actually allowed to reject clients? I know that sounds harsh but I am curious like for example, if someone came in (I know this is far fetched) and they openly admitted that they want to hurt someone in a pretty horrible way and that really upset you and are not comfortable at all around that client, are you eligible to reject them or do you have to disregard that and help them anyway?

  • just a girl

    I'm certainly working in mental health I have it all planned out to even what college and university I'm going to even though I'm 14 I want to do kind of what ur doing but maybe not specialise in ed and more in like other metal illnesses I'm excited woo

  • NoobityBoobity

    This doesn't interest me since I'm on track to being a Veterinary Medical Technician, however, this is my passion like therapy is yours. I hope this helps others though πŸ™‚

  • Chawna Ramsey

    I AM SO HAPPY YOU POSTED THIS!!!! you are one of the reasons why i am taking Psychology!

  • Alex Bailey

    I just signed up for a pre-ap (advanced) psychology course for grade 11 to help prepare me for my future πŸ™‚ I've wanted to become a therapist for at least 5 years now and I really believe I'd enjoy it a ton more then any of my past 'dream jobs' I know it doesn't get payed a lot, but helping someone through their life is priceless! Thank you for this video Kati! One day I hope to be like you πŸ˜€

  • Dmimima

    Thank you so much for this video, Kati! I'm really interested in becoming a marriage and family counselor with a specalization in sex therapy. I have a quick question though, do the graduate schools provide you with the "internships" or "clinics" to gain your 3000 hours or do you have to search for them yourselves? Thanks again for this video! If ever possible I hope you do another more "in-depth" video on becoming a mental health professional such as the pro/cons, average salaries, etc etc. Thanks again!

  • Anonymous Annie

    So even if you have some mental health problems or even a personality disorder that have been professionally diagnosed, you can still legally work as a therapist? That doesn't make much sense to me

  • Ashley Em

    I am currently becoming a therapist in Canada. There are several different ways to become a therapist but the way I am doing it is by becoming a social worker. To become a social worker here you either need a bachelor of social work which is a 4 year undergraduate degree and then a 1 year masters of social work which includes a social work placement at an institution, or if you're like me and do a different bachelors degree (I did a bachelor of science) and then get a two year masters of social work. The schools here do not require a GRE like in the states for an MSW but they are highly competitive. It is recommended that you have a lot of experience in the field as well as a high GPA and you are required to write personal statements for the schools you apply to along with 3 letters of recommendation.

    Hope that helps!

  • Leanne Collard

    Ha, I just finish my first class for my counselling degree, then I see this video. I'm nervous, but excited to keep going.
    In Australia, as far as I know, its also 4 years at university, then either postgraduate study or an internship to become a fully registered psychologist.

  • OrbitalAngel Nebula

    If you don't make money after spending that much money to go to school' then why does a counselor/phychologist charge 100 to 150 an hour to "help" you??

  • Beccy231

    i would like to hear kati sing πŸ™‚

  • idkwhattoputhereok?

    I know this may not be the proper video to comment this on but I really really need your help…Everyone including my parents and therapist think I need to a psychologist for mental illness. worry dream is to be a soldier, and I can't be that I have a history of illness. I want it so bad that if I can't go…I may have to go to a psych ward..and idk what to do…can they make an unofficial diagnosis or something? Just enough to give some sort of answers to my mom and dad? I'm not a danger to myself or others. But with the army something as small as anxiety (not saying that's for say a small issue I'm just saying compared to some I do also have that) will void you. Please answer thank you.

  • Arlen Rowe

    General pathway here in Aus for full registration as a psychologist is 4yr Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) or 3 yr Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and 1yr Psychology Honours. You could do 2 years supervised work as a provisional psychologist after that, but it's all being reviewed and looks like it'll soon be either 2 years Masters or 1 year + 1 year supervision. If you want to finish PhD then add another 2 years.

    So minimum here is 6yrs to become a registered psychologist – whichever route you choose. PhD 8 years. This is full time, so part time equivalents are massive!

    You could become a counsellor although I'm not familiar with the current requirements for this.

  • Annika S

    In Germany you have 5 years of bachelor and master together but as far as I know you have to have an average of 2.0 minimum to be able to apply or your masters. After that you can only become a therapist after 3-5 years of practise

  • dterm2002

    …your honesty, accuracy, and empathy are all beyond excellent! Add your choice of gorgeous settings and beautiful fashion wear, and your videos become a must-see!!! You are one of the most photogenically attractive and fit producers on YouTube; thanks so much for your efforts, contributions, and care!!!

  • Adrian D

    Really glad you did this video, in Scotland (UK) if you want to work in any sort of mental health career you have to be a chartered psychologist with the British psychological society (BPS). You do this buy studying 4 years of psychology in a University that is approved by the BPS. Then specializing is all about postgraduate degrees and experience. I'm aiming to do developmental & educational psychology but its a long road. Hope this helps.

  • TitanActual

    You say that this field does not make a lot of money but I've checked on ONET online and they do fairly well. I'm curious what your definition of not a lot of money is. Then again my perspective may be skewed because I'm so used to making much less.

  • jenny cruz

    Hello Kati and friends, Just wanted to let you know that you can ALSO do your degree in Social Work, not only in psychology, that's how I'm going to it. Aready finished MY bachelor in social work and am working on the masters in clinical social work with Children Youth and Families. πŸ˜‰

  • MegsReality

    Kati, I love this!! I am finally taking that step and going back to school. Β I never finished my degree in my early 20's. I am 28 now and going back to be a therapist. I don't know what I want to specialize in yet…so it was nice to know that you are able to try different specialties and find one that resonates with you. I really appreciate your honesty and encouragement.Β 

  • Laura Thurlow

    Kati, your biceps are amazing. I'm in the process of trying to get onto a post graduate course to become a play therapist πŸ™‚

  • maggers143

    Im going to college for social work and psychology.Β 

  • Melody

    Im starting university in the fall to study psychology and I'm excited. It's gonna be a lot of hard work because I have to get into the Psychology program in order to get an undergrad in Psychology, but I'll do the best I can. I am so excited to have a future helping people and I hope to specialize in eating disorders (:Β 

  • eatmybubbles

    can you talk a bit about graduate school and loans, too? i know therapists dont make the best money, but im scared about how long its going to take to pay off loans

  • Karina Bertrand

    another option is to major in Behavioral Sciences for your undergrad πŸ™‚

  • Ana Rexia

    I'm from Australia. I would like to become a school counsellor! Could anyone help me in how to do it? Also what subjects should I do in school. Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Arlen Rowe

    "Rina Farrell 2 days ago
    So even if you have some mental health problems or even a personality disorder that have been professionally diagnosed, you can still legally work as a therapist? That doesn't make much sense to me"

    Not exactly… there is no reason that a person with a MANAGED mental illness cannot be a therapist. The emphasis is on managed. You may have to have ongoing supervision (instead of just for the standard 'internship' years), so that there is someone who is keeping an eye on you. The responsibility is on the individual therapist to ensure that they are in well enough condition that they do not adversely impact on their clients, associates or on the profession as a whole. This is a part of the Code of Ethics, and thus taken VERY seriously.

    If they are found to not be doing so, it can have all sorts of consequences depending on the circumstance. The Board could prevent them from practising (for a set time, or permanently), or could enforce continued supervision to ensure issues do not arise. It is very much instilled during education though that the onus is really on the therapist, and that they should take whatever steps necessary to ensure they are at their 'best' and not going to impact negatively on any individual they work with. Personally, with what I've learnt in my own studies, if I had a mental illness I would have preventative measures in place as a practicing therapist just to make sure both myself and my clients were safe.

    I hope that clears things up a little for you πŸ™‚ (And sorry, it would not allow me to reply directly to you, so I hope you see my response!)

  • DaniiiAkasha

    I got a bachelors in psych and child development, and I am done. No grad school for me. 20 K I student loans is enough, thanks. Maybe I can't be a therapist, but I can be a coach. Hooray for un-grad school

  • meera jani

    How much a therapist would earn annually if working in a hospital setting?

  • inalcanzable68

    I'm working at a community mental health clinic as a "rehabilitation clinician". People basically think I'm a therapist though…. I feel guilty because I know that I should not be called that. I only have a 4 year degree, and I worked in the field for 2 years before I got this job. I get paid ALOT less than the Licensed Therapists. I make about $35,000 and they make about $60,000 or something like that. πŸ™‚

  • LeylaLMP

    Im going to start studying psychology in Germany this october and am so excited! Here its a 3 year bachelor, a 2 year master (in clinical psychology) and then a 3-5 year apprenticeship which is usually done in a clinic.

  • LivinLovelyTina

    Love your videos! Do you make videos that are helpful to interns and trainees? For instance, study tips, making the most of your internship, choosing a location, difference between licenses, etc.

  • Gina GL

    Thank you so much for sharing Kati, I really enjoyed this as a second year marriage and family therapist trainee. I am attending California State University, Northridge. I look forward to watching more!!! Any other mental health peeps that would like to connect?

  • Elizabeth Martinez

    Thank you so much for this video. It was extremely helpful!

  • bsando86

    Hi Kati, did you had to become a member of s professional counseling organization? Do you can a video that explains or informs about any professional organization?

  • scwood789

    Just found this video that I just asked you about in your recent video. didnt realize it was so much schooling. im a medical assistant, i wonder if there is a way to get in mental health that way… very lost.

  • Business Essentials, LLC Virtual Assistant Services

    Hi Kati—I've been watching and enjoying your videos on mental health topics. Although I am not studying to become a therapist, I can appreciate the work that professionals in this field do for others. Because therapists focus on the wellness of their patients, my mission is to help therapists in private practice relieve some of the everyday stresses of running a practice. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing some of the administrative challenges that come with mental health professionals trying to run a practice, manage claims billing, handling administrative tasks and accounts receivable management?

  • fairskyze

    Excellent, informative vid. Just what I needed to know. Thanks!

  • Lisa Scott

    This was great, Just the information and encouragement I needed! Thank You

  • theRealCrazyOne

    In New York it's 3,000 but 1,500 must be direct contact (the rest can be hours related to patient care like record keeping, etc…). πŸ™‚

  • Lis Eich

    In Germany things are a little different. You'd have to get a masters degree in Psych (5 years minimum), and then you have to do the training to become a therapist, which is another 2-3 years (and it is VERY expensive too!! You're working full time but paying for it). You can also do this after studying Med, if you want to treat adults. To become a child therapist you could also study pedagogy and do the training, and I know that in other european countries the regulations are different.

  • Iridian Sanchez

    hey, are the 3k hour internships paid?

  • Christopher Hammons

    I say u can make enough too make a living in this field… and I say my depression acturally help spark my levels of interest in psychology

  • Christopher Hammons

    ok I wanna be a lcsw. Doo I need too get a ba in social welfare or get a degree in psychology? thanks

  • diana11385

    How about a Mental Health Counseling Master's degree? I am enrolling in Capella University, have you heard of the school or have any info about studying there? Also, you say it doesn't pay well. What would you consider well? I hope to open up my own practice and it says you can make up to 100,000 year. Is there much of a difference from a Social Worker to a Mental Health Counselor. Any feedback will be much appreciated. Thank you so much. BTW, you have some very informative videos!! Love them!

  • The Mystic Angel

    I'm doing sociology at uni! can I still become a therapist? btw I'm from the UK.

  • TofuDream

    I wish mental health was more valued in the US πŸ™

  • Qudsieh Rabani

    Hi kati
    thank you for your great information.
    I have a question:
    is it possible to get a master's degree in counseling and then wait several years and later getting licensed as a LPC?

  • meckleboy

    Sorry but as an experienced mental health counselor on an inpatient psyche unit I can honestly say this is a low paying non glorious dirty job. I've been stabbed with pens spit bit kicked had feces throw at me as well as urine. Starting pay in my state is approx $14 hour. Patients are given way too many rights and waste time in these units refusing meds and therapy groups . This field also draws people who are battling their own issues who try to right their own lives by fixing others and they almost always implode. I've worked with people who have ended up forming sexual relations with the patients. I've worked with upper management who have fudged documents in order to get insurances to pay or to avoid litigation in neglectful or harmful situations. I've seen patients over and under medicated. I've seen nurses give a child a cup of hydrogen peroxide instead of water with the meds because the cup was just sitting on the medication counter and the nurse used her union rights to protect her. I've reported so many atrocities just to see them go un investigated. The system is flawed and anyone worth their salt never stays long in this field. One can only be a punching bag for so long. My advice is educate yourself further and be your own boss or choose a different field

  • ASMR With Fatima

    Not sure if these questions were asked not or yet but I would like to ask:
    1) Are there "decent" jobs that you can get with just your bachelors degree to start? Kind of discouraging to hear you won't make as much but have to go through the schooling of a master's degree which will be expensive. let alone the bachelors being expensive as it is
    2) Would you feel there is a different of attaining your degree online vs in a class room setting?
    3) I hope this isn't a super silly question but are you able to have clients in a "virtual" sense for example via skype sessions and those clients be within the U.S. and outside? Or can they only be within your region?

    Sorry for all of the questions! I hope someone can answer them. Thank you and hope everyone has a great day

  • Kristoffer Cortez

    Hi Kati, can you still pursue to become a therapist even though you did not graduate with a bachelors in psychology?

  • No-Conspiracy No-Jobs

    Dr Phil is an actor !!! SAG !!!

  • Jazmine Reyes

    Hey Kati this video was very informative I will also be applying to Pepperdine for Fall of next year, quick question , did you work while completing your masters? I'll be coming out of state and with tuition costs I belive I'll have to work but don't know if it's possible.

  • chelsea Nicholls

    Question: I'm not sure which bachelors to begin in? There is a BA of Phych, a BS of Phych and a BS in Clinical Phych….which one to I take to get on the road to be a LMFT?? Help please πŸ™‚

  • Aditya Sangore

    I am currently studying in first year psychology

  • Angelina not Jolie

    I know this video was like 3 years ago, but I wanna thank you for this video! I've been so stressed and confused as to what I'm doing. ive had people tell me I couldn't do anything with a psychology degree tho I wanted to be a therapist. I didn't know what I needed to do. so thank you! you've lifted a lot of stress off of my shoulders just by this tiny information πŸ™‚

  • Rita Gomes

    Dont you need a PhD? Or psyd?

  • Erica Flores

    I know this is a super old video, but what types if classes/activities would you suggest to people in high school who want to be a psychologists or something else in the mental health field?

  • Anne Wilson

    Working on becoming a therapist in Ontario – 4 year bachelor in psychology, keep those grades up and get volunteer hours in something related to the work you want to do! I chose to volunteer on a crisis line. Then a 2-year graduate school program, Usually a Master's of Arts o Master of Education in counselling psychology. Check your provincial and Canadians associations (CCPA, CRPO, etc) to find out the details of what you need to have to get accredited with them!

  • rand_0893

    I'm getting my bachelor's in Business, can I still get in?


    thank you so much for the info. I was clueless as to where to start .I am a US vet who went to a university out of the us but I want to become a therapist here in the US

  • Serendipity Seeker

    Hi Kati ,I am from India, I love your videos, I have finished my 3 Year graduation in Psychology, and doing my Masters in clinical psychology now, I want to know how I can get,my 3000 hour training in the USA to get my license as therapist, can you help me guide in this? we have a Mphil program in India which is 2-year research-based as well as It deals with clinical testing .Can that count as a 3000-hour training equivalent for USA standards ? or getting a licence here as Psychologist would get me write license exam there without 3000-hour training? Please help me.Thank you.

  • Jimm cold

    Why aren't you helping my friend

  • Diego Moreno

    If I have a heavy psychological background can I be a therapist ?

  • Chrissy Livingston

    I'm so glad to see someone else who did music! I am planning on majoring in psychology and minoring in music, but I was never sure I could do it! I feel a bit more hopeful

  • Send Help

    Do you get paid during the 3000 hours before you het a license?

  • Ramon

    As much as I'm a natural born therapist I know if I go for this field I will become far too extreme due to my fear of failure and perfectionistic attitude. I know there is so much more to life than just science. There is spiritual aspects as well, there is also evil entities that can be attached to people. Then you have those who are hard headed and don't understand that no matter how many perspectives you offer that they just want their views heard and not to address the problem whether spiritually or scientifically. There is also health related issues. Im the type of person who wants to do it all. And to know that I'll be limited would just hurt. Im not a licensdd therapist but I recommend people at times to see this psychic lady I met who predicted my events just to open them up to additional advice. But as a therapist that can be looked down upon. World sucks when it doesnt blend science and spirituality.

  • Tiffany Fetterman

    I majored in Sociology. That's extremely common as a BA going on to MA. Kati, you have to take a lot of psychology to earn a sociology degree. I actually think it's a much more rounded degree for a therapist looking back

  • Tiffany Fetterman

    Also, if you have any business sense you can certainly have a very profitable private practice. Do yourself a favor and take some marketing and entrepreneurship classes as well. Kati must not have

  • vinitha trinity

    I am currently pursuing Masters In counselling Psychology in India. Wanting to complete a Certificate course aboard for a year or less.. Which University would serve me best ?!

  • phoenixmoon3

    Your attitude is everything! Never loose it! <3

  • lindsey cordada

    Are you able to practice in other states besides California, even though you are only licensed for California

  • Rolling Herd

    Do you NEED to study psychology in undergrad. I am almost done with a business degree but I would like to do this.

  • Joie McGrath

    Thank youuuuuuuii!

  • spongebob5319

    Thank you for this video, this was very helpful.

  • 21st CENTURY TV

    What a fool go suck buliderberg dick instead of hiding real cures

  • Robert Phillips

    I’m going to eventually be going for my PsyD. I have one more class to get my Associates in Psychology and I’ll be going for my Bachelors!

  • jim P.

    So how much is the starting wage for a family/marriage therapist and how long did it take? How much was the degree?

  • CharvΓ©t Manaia

    The best explanation I’ve received. Thank you!

  • Rex Burk

    Why would we take advice from someone who is not monetarily successful in the field of the video they made? Not to sound like a dick but am I right?

  • SG Videos

    Hi great videos, so I want to be a therapist as well and I’m working on my issues now my therapist also told me that I would make a good therapist if I only I have an associates degree is there anyway I can fast-track it?

  • A Love

    I care a lot for people a lot, but being appart of an inhumainecdrugg pushing mental health system thstcdestroys life is not helping people , for a start i wouldnt becdoing it for money.

  • xkristixx

    Also to clarify, not all graduate programs require the GRE. Be sure to check requirements (instead I had to write a personal essay). I went to an accredited, private institution that had a great social work program.

  • Treece Baybee

    How long does it initially take to get your 3,000 hours ? also can I take more hours to complete them faster?

  • magickoya

    can i still get into grad school for mft if my bachelor's is in a different field? i'm majoring in political science but im minoring in applied psychology!

  • N Barrera

    I have a BSW and 9 years work experience in the mental health can I do the test or I have to go thru grad school

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