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Top 30 Mental Health Counselor Interview Questions

Question 1 of 34
Why did you enter a career in mental health?
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Question 2 of 34
How do you help clients set goals for counseling?
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How to Answer
Give the interviewer a step-by-step approach to how you would help your client. Give an example to make it more concrete. You could start by talking about one or two issues your hypothetical client might be dealing with. Paint a picture using examples and talk about results. Tell the interviewer how you were effective in helping your client set and attain their goals.

Answer Example
"I had a client who was struggling with an eating disorder. We set small goals to help her take better control over it. We looked at the bigger picture of her life and found opportunities where she could take control, like her job and her living situation."
Answer Example
"I had a client who was working through his depression. I determined that CBT would be one effective modality to treat him and we set goals to challenge his negative thoughts and set the habit of asking himself what someone else might say about his situation. Once he developed this habit, he told me that he really felt his depression lifting, and we continued to give him tools to manage his emotions and perceptions."
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Question 3 of 34
How do you measure progress?
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How to Answer
Progress doesn't look the same for every client. It's your job to help them move forward in their lives by looking at the past, patterns, and ways of thinking that are keeping them from living a full life. They may never reach their full potential through the time you are counseling them, but you have the opportunity to show them what they are capable of.

Answer Example
"I measure progress differently in each of my clients. Overcoming a fear, the ability to finally leave the house or even being able to go out for coffee with friends."
Answer Example
"“I measure progress by asking the client to give me ratings, and I ask them to justify those ratings. While a lot of the work goes beyond quantification, it’s still a necessary tool to gauge the rate of progress. I look at those ratings and compare them to my own assessments. I tell the client about my opinion of their progress to help them get a good baseline and to inform their own appraisals.”"
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Question 4 of 34
What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
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How to Answer
Are you aware of your weaknesses? Interviewers understand that we have weaknesses, and they want to hear that you understand yourself. Think of an area of your life that you are proactively working to improve, and openly share it. Perhaps your weakness is that you get nervous speaking in front of large groups of people. The key to this question is ensuring that you acknowledge your weakness and that you are taking steps to grow in this area. It shows the interviewer that you have initiative. Think about ways you have stretched yourself to grow in your area of weakness.

Answer Example
"Public speaking is a weakness of mine. I've recently signed up to speak at a conference to give myself the opportunity to develop your public speaking skills. It was nervewracking but I accomplished it and am looking forward to more opportunities."
Answer Example
"“I think that sometimes I get frustrated when a client doesn’t take the treatment seriously. For example, they might break several appointments in a row. I’m improving by asking myself how I can dig deeper the next time I see them and figure out why they’re not committed to the treatment, or if there are any obstacles that prevented them from coming in.” "
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Question 5 of 34
Why is medication important for some clients to progress in their counseling?
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How to Answer
Share your knowledge! Tell the interviewer what you learned from your education that supports medication for specific disorders and illnesses. While you cannot diagnose mental illnesses or prescribe medication, you can encourage your clients to take their medication as recommended by their doctor. You may have worked with clients who did not take their medication or stopped taking it during therapy.
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Question 6 of 34
Tell me about a time when you helped a client develop new strategies to address their issues?
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Question 7 of 34
What do you know about our facility?
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Question 8 of 34
What makes you a great counselor?
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Question 9 of 34
How do you encourage a client to speak about their issues?
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Question 10 of 34
Do you have a high level of patience?
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Question 11 of 34
What brings you the most satisfaction as a Mental Health Counselor?
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Question 12 of 34
How long do your counseling sessions last?
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Question 13 of 34
What is your availability in an emergency?
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Question 14 of 34
How have you handled a client who failed to progress?
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Question 15 of 34
How do you handle a client with coexisting mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety?
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Question 16 of 34
Where do you see yourself in five years?
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Question 17 of 34
Are you accustomed to working with diverse populations?
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Question 18 of 34
What type of emotional and behavioral challenges have you dealt with in the past?
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Question 19 of 34
Tell me about a challenging client and the approach you took to help them solve their problems.
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Question 20 of 34
What kind of medical information do you need? Will a medical evaluation be needed before treatment begins?
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Question 21 of 34
What are your career goals?
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Question 22 of 34
How do you make recommendations for a plan of care?
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Question 23 of 34
Have you worked with a patient who you believe was misdiagnosed? How did you handle it?
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Question 24 of 34
Tell me about a time when you saw significant improvements in a client's life?
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Question 25 of 34
How would you define success?
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Question 26 of 34
What is your greatest strength?
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Question 27 of 34
What would you do if a client said they wanted to kill himself/herself?
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Question 28 of 34
Why should we hire you?
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Question 29 of 34
Tell me about your counseling experience.
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Question 30 of 34
What have you done in the past year to improve yourself?
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Question 31 of 34
Tell me about your education.
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Question 32 of 34
How has your training prepared you for this role?
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Question 33 of 34
How would you describe your counseling style?
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Question 34 of 34
Even though this is an 8-5 job, clients may contact you any time of day, are you comfortable with that?
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About Mental Health Counselor

October 9th, 2017

As a Mental Health Counselor, you are a member of an elite group of helping professionals. You may work with individuals, couples, families or small groups. You help patients with problems such as poverty, abuse, addiction, unemployment, educational problems, disability, trauma and mental illness. You may provide individual, family and group counseling, case management services connecting clients with resources and service providers, and other services to empower clients to meet their own needs. As a Mental Health Counselor, you help patients identify internal struggles, help them examine their relationships, family structure, community environment, and the systems and policies that impact them to identify ways to help address challenges. You use a strength-based approach while counseling patients. This technique suggests that individuals have strengths and resources and the Counselors role is to help build upon a person’s skills and support systems.

As a Mental Health Counselor, your patients and schedule can be demanding. Flexibility and patience go hand and hand in this career field. Knowing how to prioritize and complete several tasks at once is crucial to getting things done in an effective and efficient manner as a Counselor. Your passion and empathy will show during your counseling sessions when you go the extra mile to empower others to lead healthier, more productive lives.

During your interview, it will be important to know your target population. Do your homework before this interview to know exactly what position you are interviewing for and what type of clients you'll be working with. The interviewer will be interested to know how you made an impact at your last job. Have a few short stories handy to share with the interviewer. By using the STAR method, you can cover all your bases as you would in a counseling session. Situation: Briefly describe the situation. Task: Point out the desired goal. Action: Share the steps you took to achieve the objective. Result: Describe the positive outcome. You can also share if there were lessons learned from the situation and how it impacted your last job.

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