We sat down with Rasha Salama, Relationship Counselor/Therapist and founder of  The Re to tell you some of the things people don’t always tell you when you become a therapist. She talks about things like whether you can make a steady income from being a therapist and if there is an emotional toll to working as a therapist.

What are the perks of working with a counseling center?

There are a lot of pros to working with a therapy/counseling center are that they are the ones who do the marketing for you. They get you clients and refer clients your way. Plus, it’s somewhat hassle-free. You don’t need to deal with secretaries or answer phone calls or schedule sessions and follow-ups yourself. Most centers have trained staff that knows how to deal with clients the right way.
If you ever have your own center you’ll need to make sure to hire a good team of secretaries to handle clients properly. Being a secretary in a counseling center is a job that demands a high level of confidentiality and you need to trust your team to be ethical. For instance, the secretary needs to know from the very meeting with the client if they’re related to or friends with the therapist they’re about to see. This is necessary as it’s actually unethical for a therapist to see her own friends and family. So, finding the right person for a job like that is extremely difficult and working at a center relieves you from having to deal with it.

Is there a steady income from this profession?

Not at all! The main financial problem with this profession is that no month is like the other. One month you could have enough clients to make a decent sum of money, and another month your clients could all be going on holidays for instance and you could be doing half what you earned the month before. However, this does give you the flexibility to maybe get another side job (like teaching for instance) or do something else you love.
Another drawback to the business I have to mention is because most people have work, they don’t go to therapy in the morning. So, unlike everyone else, you’ll be working during the evening cause that’s the time everyone usually gets off work.

Is there an emotional toll to working as a therapist?

This is an excellent question, to which the answer is yes of course. You can not forget that a therapist is after all only human. That means she/he has their own problems, their own anxieties and so on. That’s why sometimes while practicing a therapist could reach something called a “Burn Out”. This is when the therapist reaches a point where they can not have the energy or the mental power to listen to their client’s problems and help them resolve them. In this case, the therapist MUST STOP SEEING CLIENTS. The first thing you learn in this professions code of ethics is: DO NO HARM. If you can’t don’t have the mental capacity right now to help your clients then you must refer them to fellow therapists and stop taking new appointments until you feel ready again.

Is anyone in it for the money?

Like I said before, this is a profession with an unstable income, you never know exactly how much you’ll be earning each month. So, if you want to become a therapist thinking they make a ton of money, then I would highly advise against it. Honestly speaking, I don’t know anyone who’s in this field to make money. Never have I heard anyone saying ” I want to make money, so I’m going to be a therapist”.