Interviews Questions by Career
Interviews Questions by Company
Interviews Questions by Topic
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Mental Health Counselor Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 25th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
How would you describe your counselling style, and how will it be a fit for our facility/organization?
View Answers
How to Answer
The interviewer wants to see a complementary match between your counseling style, your experiences, and the therapy methods deployed by their organization and existing team. Be sure to look into the background of the hiring company before your interview. This research will help you to craft a compelling response that will resonate with the hiring authorities.

Perhaps you could discuss your counseling influences, and how they have helped to develop your overall style as a Mental Health Counselor. Maybe you prefer Rational Emotive Therapy over Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Perhaps you integrate alternative forms of therapy in your counseling, like Creative Therapy and Narrative Therapy.

Whatever your approach, talk about how you have developed your style of counseling through your education and experience while highlighting the ways that your counseling methods are unique yet complimentary.
1000s of Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Answer Examples
1.
How would you describe your counselling style, and how will it be a fit for our facility/organization?
The interviewer wants to see a complementary match between your counseling style, your experiences, and the therapy methods deployed by their organization and existing team. Be sure to look into the background of the hiring company before your interview. This research will help you to craft a compelling response that will resonate with the hiring authorities.

Perhaps you could discuss your counseling influences, and how they have helped to develop your overall style as a Mental Health Counselor. Maybe you prefer Rational Emotive Therapy over Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Perhaps you integrate alternative forms of therapy in your counseling, like Creative Therapy and Narrative Therapy.

Whatever your approach, talk about how you have developed your style of counseling through your education and experience while highlighting the ways that your counseling methods are unique yet complimentary.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My history is unique because I have training in trauma counseling and a great deal of experience in frontline work with at-risk populations. Utilizing this training in trauma therapy, I take a client-centered approach. This humanistic approach to counseling means that I focus on helping my client realize their inner potential. I wholeheartedly support my client in self-discovery while guiding them in a non-directive and non-judgemental way. This counseling style is flexible, which will ensure a smooth fit with your agency, considering your clients have a significant range of needs. My experience and training in trauma and emergency response training will be an immediate asset as I can work closely with internal and external SVU teams. I have garnered a strong reputation with victim services staff as well as local social workers in the area. These connections will help me to make headway and help solve the understaffing situations that your agency and staff are currently facing when it comes to Mental Health Counselors with experience in trauma counseling."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While completing my Bachelor of Counseling, I developed a significant interest in client-centered therapy techniques. During my studies, I dove into a humanistic approach to therapy, which encourages clients to realize their full potential. I appreciate counseling exercises that encourage client discovery. As a Mental Health Counselor, I aim to carve out space for my clients to express themselves in a safe environment, free of judgment. I believe that real change happens through an empathetic approach to therapy, where I can develop a genuine relationship between the client and myself. Just as your organization focuses on the person, I believe in gently guiding the client towards change rather than assigning specific work or expectations to them. This approach is also extremely helpful in leading group therapy, which you mentioned your organization would like to lean into further. I can certainly assist in getting more group therapy options off the ground, and I can lead these groups using self-discovery exercises that would be comfortable in a group setting."
2.
Mental Health Counselors require a high degree of fortitude and patience. How have you developed these qualities?
As a Mental Health Counselor, you must exercise patience and display professionalism at all times. Patience will help you to sit through challenging sessions and offer unbiased advice to your deserving clients. Patience will also allow you to hold space for those who need to vent, think, and process their emotions. Describe how you grow and practice your patience levels, and what role this strong mental fortitude plays in your success as a Mental Health Counselor.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I was trained early on in my education how to exercise patience in a way that would ensure a professional delivery at all times. When studying to be a Mental Health Counselor, some of the classes and exercises I completed had to do with helping me obtain good emotional balance during counseling sessions. In class, we often discussed and worked through areas where we may struggle as counselors. As a Mental Health Counselor, empathy is an asset, but it's very different from sympathy. Empathy is what drives my high levels of patience, and it means that I can understand how my clients view their world without immersing myself emotionally. I am very good at seeing how a hurting client views the world. From there, I can help them to build healthy habits around this information while also being patient with any setbacks they may experience."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I wholeheartedly believe that patience is a virtue, and as a Mental Health Counselor, emotional fortitude is an essential skill. I find it helpful to remember that my clients will not reach the finish line instantly. Change and healing are intense processes and giving my clients the room to heal is incredibly important. As I grow my career and have more client sessions, I plan to incorporate therapeutic exercises to help my clients develop more patience with themselves, and the outside world, to reduce their existing anxiety and anger issues."
3.
As a Mental Health Counselor, how do you define your success?
Your job as a Mental Health Counselor can be emotionally taxing, and it is easy to be hard on yourself when clients do not always make the change that you try to set into motion. The interviewer wants to know that you define success in a way that is healthy, realistic, and manageable.

Every client outcome will be different. For this reason, success can be very relative. Your definition of success may be as simple as helping others take a small step towards reaching their goals. Perhaps you define success by more significant milestones. Share your definition of success, and be sure to deliver a balanced answer that is positive and client-focused.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"As a Mental Health Counselor, I believe it's important to celebrate all of the wins, big and small. I cannot define my success by client breakthroughs, since this is a fast way to burn out. There are too many variables when it comes to client progress. For this reason, I see success as being a helper. If I helped my client, then I consider it a success. Each client will experience their definition of success, so I mustn't measure myself against their view of success. To measure success more tangibly, I lean on feedback from my clients. I ask them to provide me with feedback regarding the support and value they received from our sessions. If my client feels that our work together made a difference, then I see it as an overall success."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I appreciate the quote by Winston Churchill that says, 'Success consists of moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.' As a new Mental Health Counselor, I know that every day will present new challenges and a significant learning curve. While attending university, I learned an exciting technique for remaining grounded as a counselor. The idea is to journal how I feel at the end of each day and record my professional successes, both big and small. I believe that this approach will help me to revisit each success and maintain enthusiasm for the job no matter the level of engagement my clients bring, or the number of breakthroughs they experience."
4.
What brings you the most job satisfaction as a Mental Health Counselor?
Your motivation for entering the mental health field may also be what gives you the most satisfaction in your day-to-day activities as a Mental Health Counselor. Helping others get on the right path of mental health and self-care is extremely rewarding.

Think of the client interactions that have made a direct and positive impact. How have your clients improved since you started working with them? What practices and techniques have positively contributed to the mental health of others?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Seeing my clients reach success and meet their personal goals is immensely satisfying. Having the opportunity to learn from my clients about who they are and what I can do to help them achieve those goals is very gratifying. Many of my clients learn to trust, which takes a lot of time and effort. When I accomplish that trust with a client, it is the most enriching part of my work as a Mental Health Counselor. The most motivating part of my work is when I witness my clients apply new and positive coping mechanisms to their lives and find fulfillment through what we learned together."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that I will get the most satisfaction when I see even the smallest improvements in my client. What I have learned in school and through my internship is that it is often challenging to reach improvements, especially when we are working to change mindset and behavior. For that reason, I will work hard to recognize every small step as a success because the smallest steps accumulate over time, and can amount to big change."
5.
Have you ever worked with a patient who you felt was previously misdiagnosed? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Mental Health Counselors have a valuable opportunity to intervene when they have reason to suspect potential misdiagnosis. Mental health professionals aren't perfect, and a patient could have an incorrect diagnosis. This factor is why you must pay keen attention as a counselor.

As a trained Mental Health Counselor, you can connect your clients to the resources and support they might need if their medication is wrong or if they need a different approach to treatment. When you respond to this question, show the interviewer that you have a handle on best practices in your field and that you exercise awareness and empathy in your patient care plan.

If you have encountered a similar situation, try to deliver a story-based response using the STAR framework. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Discuss the situation and share what you did to help redirect your client.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) A few months ago, I encountered a client who had a recent mood disorder diagnosis. (Task) As their newly appointed Mental Health Counselor, I wanted to take great care in reading their files to ensure that all of the dots connected before I added onto their treatment roster. (Action) I read through their files with a fine-toothed comb and noticed that they experienced drug-induced psychotic episodes from time to time. However, these episodes happened like clockwork around major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. After a few group and talk therapy sessions, I began to suspect that this client was abusing methamphetamines around these holidays as these events triggered traumatic family-related memories. I concluded that when this patient was clean, they did not have manic episodes. I felt that we needed to address the addiction and trauma issues before claiming a mood disorder, which would be a life long care issue. The social worker on the team disagreed with me and felt that her mania had persisted for years and should be part of her long term diagnostic plan. (Result) I worked closely with this client's multidisciplinary healthcare team, and we came up with a more inclusive treatment plan that included addiction therapy and hypnosis for deep trauma. In the end, we did not all entirely agree on a diagnosis. Still, we worked well together to ensure that the patient was properly taken care of and not just handed heavy prescriptions that may have been unnecessary."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Mental health issues can be tricky, and misdiagnosis can certainly happen. (Situation) When I was completing my internship, the clinic had a client diagnosed with depression. (Task) As the intern, it was up to me to be astute in my observations, take notes, and then speak up if I had anything new to contribute. (Action) After observing a few counseling sessions, I saw that this client showed underlying symptoms that aligned with bipolar disorder. These signs included episodes of elatedness, where he rambled verbally and could not seem to get his thoughts together. He also had a history of impulsiveness, which I felt did not align as well with a typical depression diagnosis. So I kept an eye out for additional signs and asked my supervisor about them. (Result) We had the client see the psychiatrist in our clinic, and we concluded that his diagnosis should be updated to reflect mixed episode bipolar disorder. The benefit of completing my internship with a multidisciplinary team is that I could consult with the other healthcare professionals working with the client and discuss the situation around a 360 view of patient wellness. I was happy to be able to bring my notes to the table and encourage a patient re-assessment. This situation was certainly a highlight of my internship."
6.
What type of medical information do you look for when doing an initial client assessment before treatment begins?
The interviewer would like to get an idea of the groundwork you perform before starting treatment with a client. As a Mental Health Counselor, you already know the importance of approaching your clients with a 360-degree approach to health and wellness. Explain to the interviewer the type of information you gather in your evaluations and initial assessments. Be sure to elaborate on why this information is essential for you to obtain.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I must gather as much information as possible in the client intake forms and initial assessments. This information allows me to understand what medications the client is taking, if they had recent surgery, or if any physical impairments could impact their therapy in some way. The clients' mental health history, family history, and list of medications are crucial pieces of information to have before building and acting on a treatment plan. I also must learn of any previous mental health-related diagnosis. Lastly, physical disorders can have a significant impact on a clients' mental health, so I will request a full medical history from the client, which they can obtain from their general practitioner or any previous healthcare providers before getting started."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While earning my counseling degree, I came across a checklist for Mental Health Counselors, which I believe will be a helpful tool as I begin working with clients. First, it is important to get a full picture of my clients' history before we move forward with counseling. This full picture means starting with the individual's medical history, including any past hospitalizations and previous to current medications. It's helpful to know if there is any mental illness in the family, so I would be sure to ask many discovery questions about their family's medical history. Since I am new to my career, I am very open to learning new intake processes and approaches to initial assessments."
7.
How has your training and experience prepared you for this Mental Health Counselor role?
The interviewer would like to know, very specifically, how your education and experience have prepared you to succeed in this role. This question is not the time for generalized statements! Share what you learned while completing your training, and express how this knowledge will benefit the hiring organization.

When it comes to your experience, help the interviewer gain a clearer picture of your qualifications. Perhaps you could discuss how working with a particular client taught you about a specific mental illness. Maybe you are skilled in a specific therapy approach that directly links to the clients you would be serving in this new role.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My education and experience have allowed me to become highly skilled in creative therapy techniques. I understand that your facility holds a significant focus on art and music therapy. These therapeutic approaches align well with the foundation I have built throughout the years. I wholeheartedly believe that, as a Mental Health Counselor, it is not only about the 'book knowledge' I earned by attending classes in counseling and psychology. It's also the experience I have gained from working alongside talented therapists and clients with real-life concerns. My training and experience in creative therapy will play a significant role in helping many of the clients who walk through your doors for assistance."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"During my time in school, I developed a deep passion for counseling theory and assessments. It was wonderful to learn a wide range of tools and practice techniques while practicing in front of professors and peers. I believe that my training in cognitive behavioral therapy will play a big role in helping many of your clients. I understand that your clinic focuses on supporting individuals who are recovering from addiction, and cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the leading modalities that's proven to be highly effective. My training in CBT has prepared me with a deep understanding of counseling theory knowledge and a variety of aligning therapy techniques. Being encouraged to use these techniques will help me to create my natural counseling style, which I believe will benefit your team in a short amount of time."
8.
Discuss a challenging case, the approach you took, and the outcome. What would you do again? What would you do differently?
Human beings are complex, and we all experience the world from a unique perspective. As a Mental Health Counselor, you will have clients with varying mental and emotional issues. You must be prepared to take the approach that you feel is most beneficial for your client.

Although your client may make significant progress, there will often be approaches that you wish you took, in retrospect. Discuss how you have helped a particularly challenging client to feel empowered or to make a critical change.

Since this question is asking you to tell a story around a challenging case, be ready to give a story-based example using the STAR framework. Star is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method will allow you to organize a clear and engaging response.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Most of my clients are facing trauma, whether in the past or the present. Although trauma is always disturbing to face, I find the most challenging cases to be those where the system has failed kids or youth, and they have faced abuse and neglect. (Situation) I had a client a few years ago who was 19 years old and had been in and out of juvenile detention for most of his teen years. He was now facing assault charges, and his probation officer let me know that he may now face trial as an adult. (Task) Part of this clients' rehabilitation plan was to attend state-manded therapy, and I was his appointed counselor. (Action) After our first session, I came to understand that he was a victim of severe bullying and emotional abuse. He had grown up in foster care, where he felt alone and faced violent situations most of his life. His defense mechanism was to hurt people before they hurt him. Through narrative therapy, I helped this client to change the stories he told himself about his current circumstance and who he was as he entered adulthood. At first, it was a challenge to connect with him. However, I persevered while letting him know that I was there to help him create a new identity for himself. (Result) Over three months, while he was awaiting his court date, we made incredible progress. His self-esteem lifted, and he was starting to tell himself new stories surrounding his identity the life that he wanted to create for himself. As a result of the progress he made in therapy, he was tried as a minor when his court date came. We continued to work together during his year of incarceration. Now, three years later, he still comes to me every month. If I could change anything about my approach, I would have given him more creative tools and asked him to explore other talents as I now know how creative this individual is! Regardless, I feel that my approach was what he needed to realize his worth and feel motivated to change his life."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation & Task) Right after graduating with my degree in counseling, I spent six months shadowing a Mental Health Counselor certified in Hypnotherapy. This counselor's practice focused on helping clients with PTSD. One client, in particular, was not showing signs of improvement after three months of treatment. (Action) After the three months passed, I helped the counselor to reassess the treatment goals and the therapeutic approach. Through a collaborative discussion, we decided that we hadn't spent enough time helping the client understand himself-- for instance, what were his primary triggers and stressors? We spent additional time guiding the client to improve his self-awareness through journaling and hypnotherapy. Once he could better recognize his stressors, he could begin retaking control of his life. (Result) This new progress helped us clarify the client's long-term treatment plan because we could better define what he wanted to achieve. Through this experience, I gained confidence in my ability to reach challenging clients. Moving forward, I want my clients to be a larger part of their treatment plan and an active and accountable participant when it comes to their progress."
9.
What are your future career goals in the mental health sector?
When you review your future goals as a Mental Health Counselor, it's essential to think about how this new position will fit into your long-term goals. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work, training, and education to become a Mental Health Counselor; however, the learning never ends.

This career can be high stress and emotionally taxing as you continually learn and invest significant amounts of energy into your clients. Having a long-term career goal in mind will help you to maintain motivation, despite these challenges. Think critically about what you want for your future and share how this opportunity will be mutually beneficial as you grow and enhance your counseling career.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In the next six years, I aim to complete my masters' degree while learning to lead a department within a multidisciplinary clinic such as this one. Your team-based approach presents significant growth opportunities for me; I would love to learn how to run a therapy department that is independent yet part of a team that acts as one. In addition to learning more about the business side of running a clinic, I seek to gain more experience in group therapy. To reach this goal, I could shadow your most senior counselors and help to facilitate a variety of group therapy sessions."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Right now, I'm focused on developing an excellent track record in a clinical setting so that I can prepare to open a practice of my own one day. This long-term goal means that I need to be an excellent Mental Health Counselor and serve my clients well. This goal motivates me to do a great job for my clients now and in the future. I have another target, which is to complete my master's degree in counseling in the next five years."
10.
Tell me about a time when your counselling strategies helped a client to address a substantial issue. What strategies did you deploy?
The interviewer wants to know more about your counseling and treatment style, and they want a specific story-example that highlights your work.

Since this question is a 'tell me about a time...' query, try to give a story-based example using the STAR framework. Star is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method will allow you to organize a clear and engaging response.

Give an example of a time when you were able to give your client the tools they needed to make a significant change in their life. How did you identify what they needed? How did you help them take steps to do things differently?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"(Situation) When working for Clinic ABC, I had a client in her late 40s. She had been in an unhealthy marriage for many years, and I was the 8th counselor she had hired. (Task) After reviewing her file, I knew that I needed to take a straightforward approach with her and address the fact that she continued to fire and hire counselors. (Action) In our first session, I asked her why she changed counselors so often. I needed to get to the heart of the issue. She admitted that once the sessions became too painful, she would move on. Knowing that she had significant emotional blocks, I continued to work with her on each one in a systematic way. I utilized different approaches, including psychodynamic counseling. (Result) We worked together for a year, which was much longer than any other counselor was able to keep her engaged. Today, she has left this abusive marriage and is attending college to gain her counseling degree with a focus on helping women in situations of domestic violence. It was an honor to be her counselor and see her overcome this significant pain in her life."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"(Situation) While interning at Clinic XYZ, we had a client who expressed feelings of depression and disconnection. (Task) As an intern, I spent the majority of my time observing the client sessions. I took notes and helped the lead therapist with session documentation. (Action) I observed the counselor using a variety of techniques such as humanistic and client-centered therapy. He wanted this patient to realize that she could reach a greater potential. Part of the issue stemmed from a lack of social connection. Hence, the counselor helped her gain a different perspective on social media and put a greater emphasis on going out to social events to make genuine connections. (Result) This method helped the client to manage expectations surrounding how she envisioned her life. The shift led to numerous improvements that built her self esteem over time. As a future Mental Health Counselor, I am interested in practicing client-centered and cognitive behavioral therapy with my clients. I think it is important to help my clients identify their thoughts and emotions and how these impact their daily routine."
Anonymous Answer
"I utilize to DBT with my clients and have found it useful in working with clients who have a behavioral diagnosis and eating disorders because they often suffer from extreme emotional dysregulation and have difficulty shaping their behavior towards more adaptive responses. To help clients manage this, I validate their emotions and encourage the use of "opposite action" skills because they are typically trying to avoid something. By utilizing this skill along with deep breathing techniques, my clients have learned to stay present and navigate difficult emotions."
Rachelle's Answer
DBT can be very impactful, and you do a wonderful job explaining exactly why and how. This question is a 'tell me about a time' query, which requires a specific example of a time when you used this technique with a client. I recommend giving a specific example in your interview, and including the outcome, so long as that would not break any confidentiality, of course.
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
11.
Discuss your short and long term career goals.
Having a clear short and long term career plan will reveal to the interviewer that you have ambitions for growth and development as a Mental Health Counselor. The more detailed you are when responding to this question, the more engaged you will appear. As a Mental Health Counselor, you work with clients to help them attain their goals, so why not set some for yourself? When discussing your goals, be sure to include how you intend to reach them.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My short term goals are to become a better Mental Health Counselor in general. This goal means getting quicker at typing up my assessment reports, learning better time management, and balancing my work and home life with more finesse. My long term goals are to finish my masters' degree in counseling and take on more leadership responsibilities, eventually becoming a supervisor in your mental health clinic. I have a passion for making positive changes in our system, and I am excited to see what I can do as a supervisor, making processes and therapies more efficient and effective for everyone."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As a recent graduate and an enthusiast for continued education, I will always look to broaden my skillset so that I can be a more effective Mental Health Counselor. Over the years, I want to learn a range of modalities since I recognize that there's no one-size-fits-all therapy technique. For example, I think that psychodynamic therapy can help clients who are working on improving their anxiety and depression. For that reason, I have set a short-term goal of learning this particular therapy approach. I have already enrolled in an online training program, which begins next month. Also, I plan to study somatic therapy to help patients with deep-seated trauma. In five years, I plan to offer both psychodynamic and somatic therapy treatment options, which I believe will benefit your clinic as clients at the same time."
12.
What do you believe makes you an excellent Mental Health Counselor?
When you answer this question, it's important to highlight something unique and memorable about yourself as a counselor. Set yourself apart from the rest of the candidates and help the interviewer to remember you when it comes time to make a hiring selection.

Reflecting on your strengths, think of a few primary qualities that demonstrate your skills as a Mental Health Counselor. Think about how these skills help you do your job. This question is a significant opportunity to sell yourself.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am astute in knowing what my clients are thinking and feeling. I pay attention to their body language as they explore and frame their life experiences for me. I notice when they need space to think and process, and when it's the right time to challenge something they believe. I also know when to step back and allow my client to conclude something for themselves. I use verbal and nonverbal methods to build trust with my clients. I create a place where they feel safe, and they know that I am there for them. My clients often mention that they appreciate how I am a contributing member to their progress without being overbearing. I let my clients know that it's a privilege to be a part of their support team. I closely follow a treatment plan that the client and I develop early on, and I am transparent with my clients about their mental health plan and when we should pivot or try a new approach. Another factor that makes me an excellent Mental Health Counselor is that I clearly express the 'why' behind my treatment approaches. When the client understands the purpose of the path, they are often far more successful."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am confident and ready to make the most of my education and internship experiences. I desire to continually develop a broader counseling perspective, which will help in my client interactions. I can view situations from many different perspectives--whether it be the perspective of my clients, their friends, family, or their partners. I am ready to help my clients to navigate their relationships and understand the influences involved. In addition to these factors, my patience, ability to listen, and be attentive to the smallest details are all qualities that will make me a great Mental Health Counselor."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe I am a great counselor because of my ability to see things from multiple perspectives and meet clients where they are while listening and being empathetic. I am also calm, which helps when clients are dealing with difficult emotions."
Rachelle's Answer
You highlight important characteristics here. Great response!
Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
13.
Walk me through the range of emotional and behavioural challenges you have helped clients to overcome in the past.
The interviewer would like to know more about your background and the type of client cases you are accustomed to managing. Your range of experience will help the hiring authority to understand if your knowledge is a good match for the needs of their organization and clients.

Talk about the range of cases and challenges you have faced as a Mental Health Counselor. As you share your experiences, the interviewer should feel confident in your abilities as a Mental Health Counselor. If there are specific mental health issues that this organization specializes in treating, be sure to make the connection between their needs and your experience. This answer approach will require ample research before your interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have worked with clients who have anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, mood disorders, addiction issues, eating disorders, cognitive impairments, and physical disabilities. My background is primarily in emergency response, and I have ten years of experience working with trauma victims and frontline workers who have PTSD after a traumatic event. With Counseling Clinic ABC, I worked on a team of field-counselors who went to the scene of extreme accidents and events, where counselors had to be on hand to work with victims performing debrief counseling and trauma therapy. It was a fast-paced and intense environment, and I gained incredibly strong skills in CBT, reality, and narrative therapy. This first-hand knowledge will help me to make an impact with your clients since I have a solid understanding of ways to connect with people, meet them on their level, and quickly assess their condition."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I understand that your clinic works with our area's low-income population dealing with mental health and substance abuse. During my internship, I worked at a drop-in center. The clients were often addicted to drugs and alcohol. Here, I learned a great deal about comorbidities and substance abuse. I witnessed a lot of self-destructive and self-injurious behavior. I certainly broadened my therapeutic skill set during this time, and I am eager to take these new skills to assist your clients facing similar concerns."
14.
What do you know about our facility/organization?
Before your interview, you must do your research on the opportunity. The more you know, the more engaged you will be in your interview, and the better you can target your interview answers. Find out what you can online by searching the organizations' website, looking at recent news releases, or even reading client reviews if applicable. Look for information on the values and mission of the organization.

Think about some of the workplace factors that you value as a Mental Health Counselor. These factors could include a healthy work environment, a history of regulatory compliance, or a lot of community involvement. When you respond, be sure to make the connection between your research/findings and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I know that your facility is composed of a variety of mental health workers that represent various psychological and counseling perspectives and strategies. I know that you work closely with your clients' physicians to ensure that their medications align well with their progress in therapy. Research shows me that you have occupational therapists and outreach workers that perform home visits and help clients make it to their therapy sessions and doctor appointments. I also understand that your clinic is known for working as a multidisciplinary team to meet client needs. I have heard many good things about your presence in this community. I feel that I could add significant value from my early experience as an outreach worker and my education in mental health. I place a great deal of value on providing my clients with a multitude of valuable resources, and I know your organization values the same. I respect the approach here because it's progressive, creative, and focused on client engagement throughout the entire treatment process."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I know that your organization focus' on helping the local low-income population, and that's one of the reasons why I have eagerly applied to work here. While completing my undergraduate degree, I took sociology courses. Through this coursework, I realized that while everyone needs to take care of their mental health, low-income populations are most negatively affected by a lack of mental health care and treatment options. I vowed to build my career around making a valuable impact and helping the underserved in my community. In addition to these motivators, I've heard so many success stories coming from your mental health counseling program. I'm hoping to get the chance to learn, grow, and develop as a Mental Health Counselor with the guidance of your esteemed team."
15.
What methods do you use to help your clients speak up about their issues and needs?
The interviewer would like to know more about your communication style and how you encourage your clients to open up and make the most out of their mental health therapy. Feelings of safety and security are two key elements that will help clients feel free to open up to you.

As a Mental Health Counselor, it's up to you to create that safe space through the energy you put out, and the environment that you create. Discuss with your interviewer the tools that you use to encourage your clients to express themselves. Be as specific as possible.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"To help my clients speak up about their issues and needs, I use positive self-regard techniques. I create a non-judgmental environment, and I use open communication to foster a place of trust. These methods help my clients express themselves as I show empathy and give encouraging statements. I also ask non-threatening, open-ended questions that allow them room to talk. I affirm how my client is feeling, and I walk alongside my clients by supporting them and accepting them for who they are. I encourage my clients to explore their past, and I listen to them as they express their concerns for the future. We set clear and achievable goals and work together to accomplish these targets. This teamwork approach helps my clients to feel safe, which allows them to trust me and open up further."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My approach to helping a client speak up about their issues and needs will depend on the client's personality. I know that some people might be defensive in the beginning, even if they're the ones who decided to move forward with counseling. In those instances, I will tell my client that I understand that it's hard to open up to someone they do not know. I will assure them that they're the ones in control of their progress. I will make sure they understand that we have a therapeutic alliance and that we are partners on a journey. I will also express that I'm not there to tell them what to do but rather, to listen. I believe once my client understands the nature of our relationship, they will open up a lot more, and the treatment will have more impact because of that trust."
More Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
Common
Phone
Tough
Leadership
All Interview Topics
All Career Q&As
Suggested Career
Interview Q&As
Continue practicing by visiting these similar question sets
Psychiatrist
Rehabilitation Counselors
Social Work
Substance Abuse Counselor
30 Mental Health Counselor Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. How would you describe your counselling style, and how will it be a fit for our facility/organization?
  2. Mental Health Counselors require a high degree of fortitude and patience. How have you developed these qualities?
  3. As a Mental Health Counselor, how do you define your success?
  4. What brings you the most job satisfaction as a Mental Health Counselor?
  5. Have you ever worked with a patient who you felt was previously misdiagnosed? If so, how did you handle the situation?
  6. What type of medical information do you look for when doing an initial client assessment before treatment begins?
  7. How has your training and experience prepared you for this Mental Health Counselor role?
  8. Discuss a challenging case, the approach you took, and the outcome. What would you do again? What would you do differently?
  9. What are your future career goals in the mental health sector?
  10. Tell me about a time when your counselling strategies helped a client to address a substantial issue. What strategies did you deploy?
  11. Discuss your short and long term career goals.
  12. What do you believe makes you an excellent Mental Health Counselor?
  13. Walk me through the range of emotional and behavioural challenges you have helped clients to overcome in the past.
  14. What do you know about our facility/organization?
  15. What methods do you use to help your clients speak up about their issues and needs?
  16. Why did you enter a career as a Mental Health Counselor?
  17. How do you measure your clients' progress? What indicators do you look for to determine success?
  18. What is your approach to goal setting with your clients?
  19. What is your biggest weakness as it relates to this Mental Health Counselor role, and what are you doing to improve?
  20. Have you ever had a counselling client who failed to progress? If so, how did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome?
  21. What is your availability in the case of a client's mental health emergency?
  22. Are you accustomed to providing mental health services to a diverse population?
  23. Tell me about a time when you witnessed a significant improvement in a clients' situation through counselling.
  24. How do you initially approach clients with co-existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety?
  25. What is your greatest strength as a Mental Health Counselor?
  26. How do you approach making a recommendation for a clients' mental health care plan?
  27. Walk me through your related counselling education. Where did you perform the best while achieving your credentials?
  28. What have you done in the past 12 months to improve yourself personally and professionally?
  29. Walk me through your professional counselling experience.
  30. What would you do if a client disclosed to you that they do not want to live anymore?
Disclaimer
Our interview questions and answers are created by experienced recruiters and interviewers. These questions and answers do not represent any organization, school, or company on our site. Interview questions and answer examples and any other content may be used else where on the site. We do not claim our questions will be asked in any interview you may have. Our goal is to create interview questions and answers that will best prepare you for your interview, and that means we do not want you to memorize our answers. You must create your own answers, and be prepared for any interview question in any interview.
Learn more about what we believe >
Read our Terms of Use for more information >