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A Day in the Life of a Behavioral Therapist in South Carolina

In the state of South Carolina, behavioral therapists work in a wide range of different capacities. As such, their daily lives on the jobs will vary significantly from one professional to another. A behavioral therapist working in the school system, for example, will likely have vastly different daily responsibilities and a different working environment from a behavioral therapist working in a traditional practice setting, known as a clinical behavioral therapist. In spite of that, however, there are certain tasks and job requirements that tend to be necessary across the board, meaning that basically all behavioral therapists will complete them. We will discuss these commonly seen tasks here to help you get an idea of what your professional life would actually be like as a behavioral therapist.

Client/Patient Assessment: Whether behavioral therapists are working with troubled students in the school system, with addicted patients in substance abuse programs, or with those just needing a little help coping with life’s difficulties in a practice setting, client and patient assessment is where it all begins. This process involves meeting with the patient for the first time and asking basic questions to figure out where the patient is in his or her life and what behaviors the patient currently struggles with and is seeking to change. In some cases, a diagnosis may be necessary. This is the stage in which the behavioral therapists decides whether or not he or she can help the patient. If not, a referral to another therapeutic professional is in order. If so, then it’s time for the therapist to proceed to the next job responsibility.

Creation of a Treatment Plan/Plan of Action: Once a behavioral therapist has decided that he or she is capable of treating the patient and helping that patient to overcome negative behaviors and to live a better life, the therapist is required to come up with a treatment plan or a plan of action. This plan details how the therapist will help the patient, what methods will be used for treatment, and other important details. In some positions, the therapists will be required to have this treatment plan approved by a superior. If rejected, it must be revised until it is met with approval and then treatment may begin. Generally, after time, these become very easy for behavioral therapists to create and do not take up most of their time.

Meeting with Patients/Clients: Once a treatment plan is in place, then it’s time for the therapist to begin enacting that plan with the patient. Typically, patients and their therapists meet at least one time per week, sometimes less, sometimes more, to work on the behavioral issues that are at hand and to work through the treatment plan step by step. This is the actual process of therapy that most people think of when they enter into the field, though few will actually realize the many steps that are actually involved in it until they begin working.

Assessing Progress: Treatment plans are not always as successful as therapists hope that they will be. This is why therapists are required to constantly monitor the success or failure of the treatment plans they are using. They must sometimes present these reports to their supervisors at set intervals over the course of meeting with a particular patient in some cases. A failed treatment plan is not an indication of a poor therapist; all types of therapy will not work for all types of people. However, it is important to be able to recognize when a method of treatment is not working and to be able to refer the patient to another professional or to change the treatment plan.

Research and Writing: Finally, many behavioral therapists have areas in the field that are of particular interest to them and that they wish to explore further. This is why many therapists will conduct research, look at case studies, or conduct psychological studies. The findings from such work are typically compiled into professional articles and submitted for publication in industry journals. Publishing frequently can become a career in itself and often leads to pay raises and promotions or even notoriety in the field.