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Day in the Life of a Behavioral Therapist in Michigan

Individuals who live in the state of Michigan and who are interested in possibly going into a career in behavioral therapy often have a lot of questions about the field and the nature of the work. Overwhelmingly, the most popular question that is asked is about the daily life and responsibilities of an average behavioral therapist. Unfortunately, however, that really isn’t a simple question to answer. The working environment and the tasks and responsibilities one will be faced with each day depend heavily upon the professional’s exact job title and description. As there are many different choices for work in the field, there are also many different working days.

A behavioral therapist, for example, who works in a traditional office setting, either at his or her own practice or at a private practice owned by someone else, would have a vastly different work day from a behavioral therapist who works independently. No matter where a behavioral therapist works or what his or her responsibilities are, however, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: all behavioral therapists have the same goal and ultimately work toward the same thing each day—and that is to improve the lives of others.

With that said, we can take a look at some of the more common types of behavioral therapy working environments and discuss what individuals working in such environments do on a daily basis. A clinical behavioral therapist as described above would spend the majority of his or her day meeting one on one with clients. During initial meetings, behavioral therapists will ask important intake questions and assess whether or not they can help a particular patient and, if not, who to direct the patient to. In later meetings, therapists will design treatment plans or plans of action for their patients in order to help them work through their problems. In addition to meeting and working with patients, clinical behavioral therapists also have to keep detailed records and notes on their patients, and assess how well the therapy is working and adjust treatment plans as necessary.

Behavioral therapists working in hospitals, rehabilitation or substance abuse centers, and halfway houses often do many of these same tasks each day. However, they typically meet with groups of patients and must work to design therapy that will benefit the group as a whole in addition to supervising and facilitating group discussions and working in conjunction with other therapists and doctors that are on the staff.

In recent years, some behavioral therapists have also branched out on their own, allowing them to design their own daily schedules. It is common, for example, for behavioral therapists to use their skills and knowledge to help others quit smoking or to stop overeating, etc. These therapists will often advertise themselves and their skills independently and then may have patients come to visit them at their office or may go to clients’ homes to perform the therapy or provide advice and help.  For people who do not like strict schedules and tight deadlines, working independently is an excellent option.

As discussed earlier, there are tons of different career choices in the field. Some behavioral therapists will work in the school system. Others will work for the legal system, in the prisons, or even in various aspects of social service. The exact job dictates what will need to be done each and every day, and while it’s important to find a job where you can enjoy your day to day life, it’s most important that you have a respect for what you are doing and that you understand the purpose of all of those seemingly small tasks.