What Careers in Psychology Are Appropriate for Those Wishing to Treat Depression?

If you choose to pursue a career for treating depression, you’re likely to have plenty of job security. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 17 percent of people experience major depression at some time in their lives. People who work with those suffering from depression include counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Others in paraprofessional positions, such as nursing assistants and hospital admissions staff, may also work with depressed individuals. Let’s take a closer look.

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Education for This Career Field

Although nurses, administrative staff and some other workers at hospitals and clinics do not have advanced degrees, most people who work in careers for treating depression have a master’s degree or doctorate. Counselors with a master’s in social work or psychology, as well as a license to practice in their state of residence, often work with those struggling from depression and generalized anxiety. Some individuals specialize in grief counseling or other areas.

Psychologists often complete doctoral programs as they train to assist individuals who struggle with depression. Those with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in clinical psychology can specialize in working with children, adolescents or the elderly and address life issues that can contribute to depression.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who choose to specialize in mental health. They treat patients who suffer from depression by prescribing medication that has been proven to elevate the mood. Often, a patient will see both a counselor and a psychiatrist while working to manage depressive symptoms.

Places to Work in This Field

Many people working with those who suffer from depression work in private practice; they might have their own counseling office or medical practice. Others work in state-funded mental health organizations, while still others work in hospitals or residential psychiatric facilities. Since depression is both common and manageable, the majority of depression cases are treated through out-patient care.

Practitioners working in hospitals and residential facilities typically see a greater variety of patients for whom they provide care. If you wish to work with individuals suffering from more complex mood disorders that have a depression component, a career as a psychiatric nurse might be a good option. Psychiatric nursing and other positions in hospitals and longer-term care facilities provide opportunities to work with individuals who experience wide mood swings associated with bipolar disorder, substance-induced mood disorders, and major depression. These more complex and, at times, more critical conditions, are not commonly handled by counselors in private practice, although the sufferers may be referred to clinical psychologists in private practice for follow up therapy.

Many situations in life can leave a person feeling sad. An extended period of overwhelming sadness, or depression, is a psychological condition that requires treatment. Most professionals who work with depressed individuals have advanced degrees, but psychiatric nurses and other clinical staff may also work with depressed clients or patients without obtaining master’s degrees. If you are interested in careers for treating depression, there are several educational and career paths available to you.