How to become a Behavioral Counselor

How to become a Behavioral Counselor

How to become a Behavioral Counselor
Rosmit Gyawali

Behavioural Counseling is a type of Counseling and psychotherapy that employs behavioural theory as its primary method. It is concerned with human behaviour and seeks to eliminate undesirable or maladaptive behaviour. This therapy is typically used for people with behavioural issues or mental health conditions that cause unwanted behaviour. Addictions, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are examples of this.

If you are an analytical professional who is sensitive and compassionate professional, a career in behavioural therapy as a professional counsellor could be an excellent career path for you. Continue reading to find out "How to Become a Behavioural Counselor".

What is a Behavioral Counselor?

A behavioural counsellor is a specialist in psychology who employs a range of different therapies to assist their patients in changing particular behaviours. They work with clients to identify negative behavioural patterns that prevent them from reaching their full potential. They help clients with many problems, from depression and anxiety to substance abuse and marital problems. Behavioural Counseling focuses on current, real-time events and solutions.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a Behavioral Counselor?

  • Gathering information about the behaviour of clients through observation, interviews, and therapy sessions 
  • Making specialized diagnoses for conditions like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders (such as hair-pulling) 
  • Examine how a client's behaviour affects both personal and professional performance
  • Develop therapeutic interventions to assist with specific behaviours.
  • Aiding clients in adopting more constructive thought and behaviour habits
  • Recommending activities and exercises to assist patients in developing the skills and mechanisms necessary to manage their conditions or overcome phobias and addictions
  • Working with families to administer or assess treatment.
  • Documentation of detailed notes of Counseling and observation of each patient

Qualifications to Be a Behavioural Counselor 

Flexibility – Flexibility is an essential trait for a behavioural counsellor. Depending on the needs of the clients and their families, the work environment and circumstances can vary substantially. Numerous programs mandate meeting patients away from the typical office environment. Long evening hours are frequently required, especially when dealing with children and families or as part of a crisis team. This is typically not a 9 to 5 career.

Passive nature – A behavioural counsellor may work with some of the most challenging clients. Maintaining composure and control is essential, especially when handling potentially explosive circumstances. This role can be very emotional, so emotional maturity and self-awareness are vital requirements.

Critical Thinking – Every patient is different, with their personality, background, and advantages and disadvantages. A behavioural therapist must employ vital thinking abilities to establish (and constantly adjust) a suitable treatment plan for each patient's changing needs.

Active listening – To "read between the lines" and determine the patterns, triggers, and motivations underlying a person's behaviour, a therapist must have extraordinary listening abilities. He shouldn't interrupt, draw conclusions too quickly, or make value judgments. Behavioural therapists should know the patient's non-verbal clues and body language.

Empathy – To treat patients ethically, a behavioural therapist must be able to "place oneself in another's shoes" while maintaining a proper professional distance. Being empathetic is fundamental to the therapist-patient interaction, making it the attribute behaviour analysis needs most of all on this list.

Steps to Become a Successful Behavioural Counselor

  • Pursue a bachelor's degree in Psychology, Counseling or Social work. 
  • Participate in -field training, such as an internship.
  • Acquire practical experience dealing with a particular group of people (such as adults who are battling substance misuse or children with autism or ADHD) or in the appropriate environment (such as hospitals or schools)
  • Advance your skills and understanding in the field through a master's in social work (MSW), psychology, Counseling, applied behaviour analysis or related degree.
  • Pursue professional certification and obtain a clinical license.
  • Pursue a doctorate in the related field.

Degree Programs for Behavioural Counselors

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s degree in social work

Bachelor of Science in Psychology  

Bachelor in Applied Behavior Analysis

Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology

Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Bachelor of Arts in Human Development

Master’s Degree Program

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis 

Master of Arts in Applied Child and Adolescent Psychology: Prevention & Treatment

Master of Science in Behavior Analysis 

Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

Masters in Social Work

Master’s degree in Psychology

MA in Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Salary of a Behavioural Counselor

Individual incomes vary widely depending on various criteria, including geographic location and field of practice. The top 10% make more than $78,700 annually, and the bottom 10% earn less than $30,590 in the USA.


The average annual income of a Behavioural Counselor



United Kingdom











RUB 909,698 





Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Behavioural Counselor


  • Opportunity to help people change their behaviour for the better
  • High-income potential
  • Option to work for one’s self
  • Potential for work flexibility as a private practitioner
  • Each work is unique and exciting 


  • Sometimes, they have to deal with demanding clients
  • Often counsellors must work odd hours based on client’s need
  • Setting up a private practice is difficult
  • Counsellors face many negative emotions and may become vulnerable to negativity and depression. 

Career as a Behavioural Counselor

A psychologist with the necessary training can find employment in various behavioural psychology-related settings. Numerous behavioural psychologists are engaged in research, performing studies and tests to address critical psychological issues, including the nature of behavioural health disorders or the effectiveness of behavioural treatments for these diseases. 

Other behavioural psychologists work in educational settings with particular student demographics, including those with severe behavioural issues. Many behavioural psychologists build careers in private practice and work with clients one-on-one to create treatment plans for behavioural problems such as phobias, addictions, or even anxiety or mood disorders. 

Behavioural psychologists are also in high demand in medical settings such as hospitals and clinics.


  • Applied behaviour analysis 
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy 
  • Cognitive behavioural play therapy 
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy 
  • Exposure therapy 
  • Rational emotive behaviour therapy 
  • Social learning therapy 

Job Titles:

  • Behavioural Therapist/Analyst
  • Therapist
  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Clinical Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Behavioural Health Director
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Behaviour Clinician
  • Behavioural Consultant
  • Early Education Therapist

FAQ Related to ‘How to become a Behavioural Counselor’?

Where do behaviour therapists work?

Behaviour therapists may work in a variety of settings, depending on their specialization, including:

  • public or private hospitals
  • health centres
  • community centres
  • prisons
  • Therapy clinics.

What Professions Relate to Behavioral Counselors? 

Behavioural Counseling is a broad and varied field. In terms of training and job responsibilities, there are many other careers that are remarkably similar to behavioural Counseling. Among them are:

  • Substance abuse and behavioural disorder counsellor 
  • Psychologist 
  • Mental health counsellor 
  • School counsellor 
  • Clinical social worker 

Who requires behavioural therapy? 

Adults, adolescents, and children can all benefit from behaviour therapy. It can be used to treat a variety of problems and disorders. Children typically require behaviour therapy if they exhibit severe behavioural problems for an extended period, such as six months or more.

What are the most common reasons why people require behaviour therapy? 

Negative behaviours can be caused by a variety of underlying issues or disorders. The following are some of the most common problems and disorders that lead to adults or children requiring behaviour therapy:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger issues or heightened aggression
  • Autism
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Serious or irrational phobias

Does becoming a behaviour therapist require a degree? 

Yes. To become a behaviour therapist, you must have a bachelor's or postgraduate degree in cognitive behavioural therapy. It would be best if you also had relevant experience working with adults or children with mental health or behavioural issues.

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