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Mental Health Counselor Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Mental Health Counselor interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 30

Walk me through your related counselling education. Where did you perform the best while achieving your credentials?

How to Answer

The interviewer would like to know more about your education and how you have prepared yourself to be a successful Mental Health Counselor. When you answer this question, be cautious not to recite your credentials as listed on your resume. The interviewer is more interested in your overall education experience, which includes highlights, and your biggest take-aways.

Talk about the courses you excelled in or where you thrived during your internships and other experiences as a counselor. When you reply, be sure to give the interviewer insight into your counseling style, personality, and approach to therapy.

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30 Mental Health Counselor Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Walk me through your related counselling education. Where did you perform the best while achieving your credentials?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know more about your education and how you have prepared yourself to be a successful Mental Health Counselor. When you answer this question, be cautious not to recite your credentials as listed on your resume. The interviewer is more interested in your overall education experience, which includes highlights, and your biggest take-aways.

      Talk about the courses you excelled in or where you thrived during your internships and other experiences as a counselor. When you reply, be sure to give the interviewer insight into your counseling style, personality, and approach to therapy.

      Entry Level

      "First, I achieved my diploma in counseling. I learned a wide range of therapeutic techniques available to Mental Health Counselors such as CBT, reality therapy, and narrative therapy. I also excelled in mindfulness coaching, where the client pays keen attention to their feelings and thoughts, in the moment. Next, I moved on to achieve my degree in Psychology. While expanding my education, I devoted many volunteer hours to the women's shelter. There, I worked with amazing professionals who helped me to grow my expertise in intervention counseling. Now, thanks to my broad education, I would say that my greatest strength is in a unique blend of mindfulness and intervention counseling. I believe my approach will be an excellent fit with the cognitive-behavioral techniques in which your facility focuses."

      1st Answer Example

      "Years ago, I complete a diploma in Child and Youth Care, which allowed me to break into this line of work as a Youth Worker. Over the years, I continued to add certifications to my resume related to addictions, group counseling, talk therapy, mindfulness, and CBT therapy. I also completed my SMART Recovery Program certification, allowing me to facilitate 12-step recovery training. I have a degree in Psychology, which I completed two years ago. After completing my Psychology degree, I started my master's in Counseling, which I focus on in the evenings and weekends. I expect to graduate with my masters' in three months. Throughout all of these educational opportunities, CBT therapy was where I excelled the most. I am especially strong when it comes to opening conversations that are dynamic, encouraging, and helpful. I believe this is because of my non-judgemental, warm, and compassionate nature, which are teachable qualities; however, they have to surface naturally at the same time. Since your organization focuses heavily on CBT therapy techniques such as exposure therapy and social skills training, I am especially excited to work here where I know my credentials will shine."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I began my counseling experience as a Pastoral Care Provider after completing my Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in Pastoral Care. This degree limited me from functioning as a counselor. I was limited in knowledge and skill, so it motivated me to pursue my Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling where I could be more efficient as a counselor and as a mental health therapist. At the completion of my master's degree, I began working at Bowie State University Counseling Services. The experience was very rewarding and I was able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during my study and saw lives impacted and restored through psychotherapy. My passion to be a great people helper motivated me to then move further in the doctoral program. Regardless of the many challenges that were presented in my path, I was able to complete the Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision program.



      I have only worked in two locations the Ebenezer Church of God where I do Pastoral Care and the Bowie State University Counseling Services where I do psychotherapy. I served at both places as I worked towards achieving my credentials. Both places gave rewarding experiences, those experiences were different, and the needs were met differently."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great--your post-secondary education and clinical experience are both impressive and have well-equipped you as a therapist.

  • 2. Have you ever had a counselling client who failed to progress? If so, how did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome?

      How to Answer

      In reality, some clients may take longer to progress, or they may not be able to move forward with you at all. The interviewer would like to know how you would handle a situation where your client failed to make progress. Perhaps you would redirect your client to another counselor, or maybe you would begin to explore a new counseling approach. The way that you handle this type of situation will tell the hiring authority a lot about your client relationships and your confidence as a Mental Health Counselor. Explain how you would address this situation with a client once you noticed the signs of non-progression.

      If you have faced this situation in the past, be sure to give a specific story-based example. You can form this 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.

      Entry Level

      "While earning my degree as a Mental Health Counselor, we were taught that there might be times when the synergy is not good with a client. I learned that it is important to take note of these circumstances and be transparent with a client when progress is lacking. If I notice that a client is not progressing, I will take time to reassess their treatment plan, and the therapy modalities I use. I will also entertain the idea that I may not be the right counselor for them. I will ask the client various discovery questions to see if we need to set different goals. From there, I would work together with the client to identify the best way for them to reach those goals."

      1st Answer Example

      "Yes, I have had clients who have failed to progress, and it's always a difficult reality to face. (Situation) In one case, there was a missing trust factor between myself and the clients. (Task) As a responsible Mental Health Counselor, I want to see my clients succeed; however, I may not always be the right counselor for the job. The connection was not there, and, after three sessions, I had to be transparent with the client. (Action) I told her that I felt another therapist in our office would be a better fit for her. I explained that this individual was more versed in psychodynamic therapy, where they had a heavier focus on how the clients' past experiences impacted their current problems. This counselor would take more of an expert role and less of a client-driven approach. Since this client has already gone through a few therapists, I felt that this therapy method would be more helpful. (Result) In the end, I was thankful to be right. Although I was not privy to the details of their sessions, I would see the client come in for her appointments now and then, and she seemed to be happier and more lighthearted."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I had a client who presented feelings of depression. On completing Beck's anxiety inventory, it indicated that he was experiencing mild depression. Based on the client's intake it seemed as though his depression was situational. He was a full-time student who had lost his job. The counselor gave him links for job opportunities and he applied for a few of the jobs but stopped when no one responded to his application. It seemed as though the client hadn't the inner drive to move forward during challenging times. Also, he did not complete assigned homework during sessions. I discussed with the client my concerns about our sessions and recommended a male counselor for which he agreed. His case was discussed with my supervisor and his case was transferred to the male counselor in the very counseling center."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good response--it feels like you really understood your own limitations and when someone else would be a better match for this particular client. This shows a lot of self-awareness and reflection.

  • 3. Discuss a challenging case, the approach you took, and the outcome. What would you do again? What would you do differently?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "(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."

      1st Answer Example

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My challenging case was an experience with a client who was diagnosed with Bipolar. This client came to the counseling center very angry, swearing, hitting objects in close proximity. The client was given to me for treatment. I spoke with him gently to calm him as I reassured him that I am here in support of his well-being. After getting him to sit I did deep breathing with him for calming and alternate nostril breathing for grounding. I was able to stabilize him emotionally which allowed him to communicate effectively. He was able to communicate the cause of his emotional distress. Together we were able to resolve the situation. I believe if I am faced with that form of crisis situation I may repeat all of the steps that I took but in addition, I would recommend the client for counseling for emotional management."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      You outline a really tough situation here, and it sounds like you took intentional steps to work toward a solution with your client. The counseling profession is lucky to have you!

  • 4. Walk me through the range of emotional and behavioural challenges you have helped clients to overcome in the past.

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Over the past nine years working as a mental health therapist I have worked with clients on Anger Management, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Bipolar, and Trauma. I have helped clients in managing or overcoming their emotional and behavioral challenges through Cognitive Behavior Therapy and coping skills. My first experience working with someone with Bipolar was challenging, the client was angry with someone but I was able to calm him to the point where he could communicate without raising his voice. That experience created a great therapeutic relationship."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      You provide a meaningful overview of your skills and professional experiences here. If you've worked with clients with substance abuse issues and/or personality disorders, I suggest including that as well.

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  • 5. Are you accustomed to providing mental health services to a diverse population?

      How to Answer

      Mental Health Counselors must be in tune with the needs and challenges that various groups and populations face. You must maintain a high ethical standard, both professionally and personally. Throughout your career, you will work with people from all walks of life, of a different race, sexual orientation, religion, culture, age, gender, or disability.

      Let the interviewer know that you are comfortable and experienced working with a wide variety of clients. Give an example of how you have worked with different populations, whether during your career, an internship, volunteer work, or while obtaining your post-secondary education.

      Entry Level

      "Although I am new to my career as a Mental Health Counselor, I understand how important it is that I remain current on conversations surrounding diversity. I completed my internship working as a counselor within a free counseling program specifically aimed to support the LGBTQ/2S community. We called it 'Pride Counseling,' and my eyes were wide open after only one week of volunteering. Although I was aware of the diversity in this community, I was not aware of how vast the topics are within this community. By working in this volunteer role, I have become a better counselor. I gained more robust listening skills and more empathy for others. This exposure working with diverse groups will show me precisely how different communities have their particular dynamics that can impact people's life choices, experiences, and overall mental health."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have been a mental health provider for the past nine years and was able to provide services to a diverse population. I served clients from the LGBT population as well as others from various cultural backgrounds, religious and non-religious beliefs. Serving a diverse population is important to me because it inspires creativity as well as offers a broader range of services. It also helped me to move beyond my culture and worldview to appreciate the uniqueness of various cultures."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good update!

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  • 6. How do you measure your clients' progress? What indicators do you look for to determine success?

      How to Answer

      Progress will not look the same for every one of your clients. For this reason, as a Mental Health Counselor, it's your job to help your clients move forward in their treatment by continually looking at their progress, identifying patterns of success or setbacks, and coming up with treatment modalities that lead to positive change. Talk to the interviewer about your approach to assessing and measuring client progress.

      Entry Level

      "I will measure progress by asking my client to give me ratings, and I will ask them to provide me with honest feedback on how they feel they are progressing. While a lot of my work as a Mental Health Counselor will go beyond quantification, it's still necessary to gauge the rate of my clients' progress. I will look at the client ratings and compare them to my assessments. I will openly discuss my clients' progress with them to help them get a good baseline of how far they have come."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a mental health provider, I am always looking for progress as I attend to clients. I do so through observation, responses from the clients about their progress, and thorough assessments. If I am treating a client for anxiety, I may use Beck's Anxiety Inventory to see their level of anxiety as we work together. I am also looking to see their effectiveness in using the coping skills that were introduced in managing their anxiety."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great--this is a thorough and well-rounded response!

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  • 7. What is your approach to goal setting with your clients?

      How to Answer

      Goal setting is essential to the counseling process, both in terms of client accountability and client success. Give the interviewer a step-by-step approach to how you help your clients to set goals and maintain focus.

      If you are an experienced Mental Health Counselor, you could give an example of your work to make your response more concrete. You could start by talking about a client's treatment (confidentially, of course), and how you approached goal setting. Paint a picture using examples, and be sure to discuss the results.

      Entry Level

      "I plan to take a human-centered approach to my counseling sessions so I will work with my client on creating short and long term goals together. It's important that my client feels involved in the goal-setting process so that the targets are achievable and exciting for them. I will ask my client to explore details surrounding their ideal outcome, and we will move forward using that information as a primary driver."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Based on a client's presenting mental health concerns, for example, anxiety, after other pertinent information has been collected such as drug and alcohol use, psychiatric history, medical history, any form of medical treatment, and Diagnosis/DSM 5, if the client's symptoms met the criteria GAD, I then explain the diagnosis with the client. Long-term goals are then discussed to reduce the overall frequency, intensity, and duration of the anxiety as well as coping skills that need to be implemented that will also result in a reduction of anxiety. Short-term goals are also developed which helps in accomplishing the long-term goals."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This again reflects strong ethics of the counseling profession, but I suggest using "I" statements and personalizing your response.

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  • 8. What is your availability in the case of a client's mental health emergency?

      How to Answer

      Depending on your work setting, you may need to be flexible with your hours and be willing to respond quickly in case of an emergency. Reassure the interviewer that you are ready and able to support your clients and employer with a flexible schedule. If you have ever done shift-work or have been on-call, you can further confirm your willingness by explaining that you are not new to these types of expectations.

      Entry Level

      "I got into this career, knowing that emergencies are a fact of life for Mental Health Counselors. I am flexible and want to be there for my clients when they need me the mos. I pride myself on being reliable and dependable and will be a source of stability for my clients."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a mental health provider, the safety and well-being of a client come first. When a client experiences an emergency, I make that client's need my priority. I leave whatever I am doing and attend to the client. Also, at times when I am unavailable, clients are advised to use the counseling center's emergency line, where a clinician will attend to them or be encouraged to dial 911."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like you are very dedicated to your work, so I am wondering how you navigate a work/life balance. Because you may not always be available (or be the best resource) when a client is experiencing a mental health emergency, I suggest adding in a few details about how you'd guide your clients when you're not available. For example: "Since there are times that I cannot be immediately available in the case of a client's mental health emergency, I make sure that each of my clients has the information and resources to navigate a mental health crisis, such as having the 24-hotline for mental health emergencies or calling 911."

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  • 9. Discuss your short and long term career goals.

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My long-term goal as a Mental Health Provider is to be an expert in the profession. To be a Director for a mental health center, to provide mentorship for counselors in training,

      My short-term goals are to gain the necessary training in leadership, training in having a successful counseling center, and training for relevant skill development."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great start! Similar to #27, I suggest providing details that are more measurable and specific. What is your timeline for meeting these goals? What actions or steps are you taking to arrive at these goals?

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  • 10. How do you initially approach clients with co-existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety?

      How to Answer

      As a Mental Health Counselor, you know that addressing one mental health condition can be challenging enough. When a client faces more than one diagnosis, the challenge can be far more significant. The interviewer wants to clearly understand your approach when it comes to helping clients with more complex issues. If possible, give the interviewer an example of a client you supported through counseling and explain how your approach was successful.

      Entry Level

      "Every client is different, so I plan to take an individualistic approach. I will encourage my client to recognize specific patterns identified in the past. I will ask them how they feel about their previous diagnosis or other existing conditions. Then, I will ask what aspects of their life they would like to improve the most. This discovery process lays the groundwork for change and encourages a transparent approach to therapy. I believe that by guiding my clients through discovery questions, we can better identify realistic goals and see more consistent results."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have never treated a client with co-existing mental health conditions. My knowledge of such cases may require more intensive treatments than someone with only one of them and may even require long-term assistance. Treating both addiction and mental disorders simultaneously reduces the chance of relapses, such as depression, mood swings, or panic attacks."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Co-existing mental health conditions are actually pretty common, so the fact that you've never treated a patient with co-existing conditions, despite years of experience, may feel a bit unusual to your interviewer. If you truly have had no experience in this area, I suggest specifically stating what you would do if you were faced with such a patient, as well as what you are currently doing to research and learn more about co-existing mental health conditions.

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  • 11. What type of medical information do you look for when doing an initial client assessment before treatment begins?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a mental health provider, before any form of treatment begins, I look for any existing physical and mental conditions and treatments. At times, a physical ailment or treatment can affect one's mental functioning. I also look for a family history of mental and physical problems, as well as drug and alcohol use."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response--it sounds like you have a solid plan in place for conducting initial client assessments!

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  • 12. What are your future career goals in the mental health sector?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I desire to either have my own Mental Health Services or be the Director of a Mental Health Facility. I would also like to provide mentorship for counselors in training. I have already obtained the "Approved Clinical Supervisor" credential, and presently I am preparing for the Board Certified Behavioral Analysis certification. I have also started mentoring counselors in training by being a Practicum and internship supervisor."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are excellent goals! I suggest adding an extra sentence or two to show the steps you're currently taking to work towards these goals. If you're able to provide a timeline, that will be helpful as well. For example, "Within the next five years, my goal is to become the Director of a Mental Health Facility. I am currently working toward this goal by (list actionable steps that you're taking)."

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  • 13. How do you approach making a recommendation for a clients' mental health care plan?

      How to Answer

      A treatment plan or mental health care plan is a guide that directs counselors and clients through the therapy journey. A professional treatment plan will include includes guidelines, goals, and will set the direction and boundaries of the relationship. An experienced Mental Health Counselor knows that a client should be involved in developing the care plan whenever possible.

      When you respond to this question, be prepared to discuss that you collaborate with your clients to create a treatment plan that includes:

      - A clear definition of the problem you are working to solve
      - A variety of treatment goals, both large and small
      - An outline of the treatment approach including any prescriptions recommended by the clients' psychiatrist or doctor
      - A treatment timeline complete with milestones

      As a Mental Health Counselor, you will create treatment plans and pivot those plans as your clients require. Show that you are well-organized, intentional, and aware of your role as a Mental Health Counselor.

      Entry Level

      "While completing my degree in Counseling, I created numerous templates for treatment plans, and I crafted a few treatment plans in mock therapy sessions that occurred in class. I understand the goal of a mental health care plan is to outline the clients' issues effectively and map out the desired outcomes. I look at a treatment plan as a set of instructions to follow as treatment progresses. It is important to set realistic and accurate goals for each client. To reach these goals, it is critical to have accurate information about the client and their background. I plan to begin each client relationship by observing and gathering as much information as I can. Once I have this information, I can start asking questions to identify core issues, primary, and secondary goals. I must listen to my client and learn what they are currently dealing with so that they feel included in the development of their treatment plan. I look forward to learning more about building effective treatment care plans as I progress in my career as a Mental Health Counselor."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "A client's health and well-being are of utmost importance. As a mental health professional, I have an ethical responsibility to make recommendations when it is beyond my scope of treatment. The goal of the mental health professional is to help and not to hurt."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This response shows a solid understanding of the ethics of the counseling profession.

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  • 14. How would you describe your counselling style, and how will it be a fit for our facility/organization?

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe that the counseling style of a counselor is very important. I am integrative in my counseling style because I believe that counselors need to be flexible in their approach to accommodate different clients' needs rather than a one size fits all approach to therapy. This form of therapy can promote a holistic approach. I believe that an integrative counseling approach will be beneficial to your organization because your mission statement is all about promoting healing physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually, which is holistic in its approach. However, my main therapeutic approaches in counseling are Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, and Schema Therapy."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your eclectic approach to counseling will be beneficial to many clients and will be well-received by many facilities and organizations. Because the term "eclectic" is a bit all-encompassing and can mean a lot of different things within the counseling profession, I suggest providing a few additional details about your style and approach. For example, is your eclectic style rooted in a person-centered approach? Do you lean toward incorporating art or movement? A few additional details will shed light on who you are professionally and how you can contribute to this organization.

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  • 15. How has your training and experience prepared you for this Mental Health Counselor role?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My training and experiences have helped to prepare me for this Mental Health Counselor's role. The various theoretical approaches, along with the techniques, have helped me make a difference in the lives of clients. The training has also equipped me to fulfill my role as a counselor. I have also worked 18 years as a Pastoral Care provider, where I provide services such as premarital counseling, Family counseling, and individual counseling. In addition, I have worked as a mental health counselor for the past nine years, where I served clients who experienced depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and anger management problems."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      You have significant experience in the mental health field that isn't mentioned here. I suggest making this response more impactful by quantifying your professional experience. For example, I have ________ years of experience as a mental health counselor, providing services in ____________settings and working with clients experiencing a wide array of mental health concerns."

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  • 16. Why did you enter a career as a Mental Health Counselor?

      How to Answer

      There are many different motivators for entering the field of Mental Health, but most reasons stem from the common ground of a desire to help people. Think about why you chose a career as a Mental Health Counselor and what motivates you to do your job every day.

      Maybe you have dealt with the mental illness of someone close to you, or perhaps you are frustrated with the current model of mental health care, and you strive to make a positive difference. Whatever your motivation, speak openly about how you aim to make an impact through your work as a Mental Health Counselor.

      Entry Level

      "I chose to enter a career in mental health because I want to help people learn to cope with life's challenges. It's important to me that I work to make a positive change in society, and I believe that begins with a person's mindset. I think that if a person has the right mental tools, they'll be more resilient in life. This resiliency also creates a positive ripple effect on families and communities. When more people can thrive, our world will become a better place! I am happy with my choice to pursue a career as a Mental Health Counselor, and I look forward to making an impact on others."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I chose the career as a mental health counselor because I believe a person's mental health is very important as their physical health. A person's emotional pain is as important as their physical pain and many times the emotional pain is overlooked or stigmatized. My mom suffered from anxiety and worried a lot even when there was no need to do so. It affected her mentally, emotionally, and physically and because I was not knowledgeable about her illness, I could not be of assistance. Presently, being a mental health provider gives me the opportunity to educate others on various topics on mental health to promote wellness."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good answer.

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  • 17. What have you done in the past 12 months to improve yourself personally and professionally?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know about the recent actions you have taken to expand your knowledge as a Mental Health Counselor. Discuss the ways you have helped yourself when it comes to personal and professional growth.

      Continual learning is critical to keeping yourself in check as you work in an emotionally-driven environment. Share some of the helpful tools and tips you have recently applied to drive more impact in your personal and work life.

      Entry Level

      "As a recent graduate and a new Mental Health Counselor, it's very fresh in my mind how important it is to protect myself from the emotional strain and stress that comes with this line of work. For this reason, I have recently adopted a few routines to ensure a healthy mental transition between my work and home life. I have enrolled myself in bi-weekly therapy sessions so that I have a safe place to express myself. I have started to take yoga and meditation classes, which has helped me to clear my brain and simmer on positive thoughts. Professionally speaking, I have enrolled myself in an online course focused on strengthening my knowledge of hypnotherapy, a technique that I find fascinating. I love to learn, and I must grow as a counselor and as an individual. Rest assured, I will keep expanding as a professional and as a healthy, well-adjusted individual."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Over the past twelve months, I have gained the Crisis Intervention Certificate and attended a QPR training (Training on Suicide). I appreciated the crisis intervention procedure algorithm "INSERT," which helped me remember the steps to take during crisis intervention.

      QPR teaches that anyone can intervene. It gives a layperson tools to intervene in suicide prevention by making a contract with the person not to kill themselves, offering help to find support, giving hope to the person wanting to commit suicide, and directing the person to resources, for example, suicidal hotline, a Pastor or person of faith, or mental health professional."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent! It sounds like you've taken some important steps over the past twelve months to continue developing your professional skills. To deepen the impact of your response, I suggest including a sentence or two about what you learned from this training and how you plan to utilize these skills.

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  • 18. Walk me through your professional counselling experience.

      How to Answer

      You may have already given the interviewer examples of your work, and they may have a career outline from your resume. However, you now have a chance to share more in-depth details of what you have learned and practiced throughout your career as a Mental Health Counselor.

      Rather than share all of the tiny details of your experience, take this opportunity to outline the highlights. You may want to put a spotlight on some of the challenges and successes you have experienced as a counselor.

      Entry Level

      "While attending college to complete my counseling degree, I worked at a community-based free clinic, where I was able to help other counselors treat a very diverse population through group and one-on-one therapy. I learned a lot through this experience, such as how different communities and cultures deal with mental health issues. It was an honor to help people overcome emotional hurdles and help them to make progress in their lives. This experience is why I'm applying to work with your organization, now that I have completed my degree. I wish to continue my work within a diverse environment focused on mental health issues. I have completed 2000 hours of supervised counseling work, and I look forward to continuing my journey as a Mental Health Counselor with your organization."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have been a mental health professional for the past nine years and a Pastoral Care provider for the past twenty-five years. During my nine years as a mental health provider, I have only worked at one Counseling Service. At that particular counseling service, I was responsible for providing counseling for over one thousand students. Many of the cases I have dealt with over the years needed treatment for either Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar, Anger Management, and Trauma."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great--you have a wealth of experience in this area!

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  • 19. What would you do if a client disclosed to you that they do not want to live anymore?

      How to Answer

      If your client has threatened to harm themself or others, you may be legally required to report the disclosure to authorities. This response will depend on your location and where you are a practicing Mental Health Counselor.

      Assure the interviewer that you would take immediate action and follow ethical guidelines to protect your client, yourself, and your employer. Show the interviewer that you recognize the critical role that you play in preventing self-harm to your client.

      Entry Level

      "As a Mental Health Counselor new to my career, I would first rely on the policies and regulations put into place at this facility. Following these protocols, I would then contact my supervisor and discuss the appropriate measures. These measures might be reaching out to a mental health facility where 24-hour care is available. I would do what it takes to eliminate immediate concerns or threats while also understanding that I am not solely responsible for the care and safety of the client. By addressing the clients' immediate stressors and coming up with a solid care plan, they could reach a safer place, emotionally. Then, the longer-term work of therapy could begin."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Should a client disclose to me that he/she does not want to live anymore I would immediately ask if there is a plan because the safety of a client comes first. If there is a plan in place I would immediately share with the client the limits of confidentiality. This case will immediately be shared with my supervisor and guidelines set in place for such cases by the center will be followed including ethical guidelines which are to report the disclosure to authorities who will transport the client to a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment. It is my duty as a mental health provider to help in protecting the client from any form of self-harm."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a really tough question (and a very difficult scenario to be in as a therapist.) Good answer.

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  • 20. What is your biggest weakness as it relates to this Mental Health Counselor role, and what are you doing to improve?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for red flags or gaps in your knowledge. When you answer this question, genuine vulnerability is essential, but be sure to include what you are doing to improve on your weakness. Be honest about your weaknesses and, at the same time, show that you are proactive and dedicated to professional growth. It's essential to maintain a positive tone, show confidence, and display a desire for growth.

      Choose a weakness that is not a core skill for the position. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Also, be sure to avoid cliche answers such as 'I work too hard,' or 'I care too much.' Be sure to acknowledge your weakness and that you are taking steps to grow in this area. It shows the interviewer that you have initiative and a desire to improve.

      Entry Level

      "One weakness is that I get frustrated when a client doesn't take the treatment seriously. For example, they might break several appointments in a row. I have approached my mentor, and we spoke about this weakness in full. She coached me on the fact that I cannot care more than my clients cares when it comes to their treatment and the commitment required to change. I am working to improve this weakness by reminding myself that I cannot control the actions of others. I believe that as I gain more experience as a Mental Health Counselor, this mindset will become more natural to me."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "One area I have been working to improve is not taking it personally when clients are not progressing in treatment. I recognize that each client is different, and their motivation to change is different. I've actively been working on this by being knowledgeable about each of my client's treatment plans so that I can support them in the goal areas."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's great you are learning not to place blame on yourself when a client doesn't progress as desired. Very good answer.

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  • 21. What is your greatest strength as a Mental Health Counselor?

      How to Answer

      This interview question is common, and it can be incredibly challenging to answer. The interviewer wants to know, specifically, what makes you good at your job. As a Mental Health Counselor, there are many skills and qualities that you should possess. These include being a great listener, exercising empathy, and being highly observant. Aside from the foundational skills required to succeed as a counselor, what strength do you believe sets you apart from others?

      Before your interview, take the time to discover the needs of the hiring organization. Then, tie your greatest strength into their requirements. For instance, if the organization is in search of counselors who focus on cognitive-behavior therapy, and your most significant talent is in CBT approaches such as problem-solving training, and relaxation training, it's a great idea to make these connection points in your response.

      Entry Level

      "My greatest strength is my empathetic nature. I'm very good at listening and seeing a person's intentions versus their actions. I believe that, as a new Mental Health Counselor, my strong empathy levels will help me to grow an effective therapist. I saw in your job description that you seek a counselor who can help your clients to feel understood while also feeling respected. As a truly empathetic individual, I will always respect your client's feelings by giving responses that appropriately reflect the client's situation and mood."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My greatest strength as a mental health counselor is my ability to listen, empathize, build rapport, and promote hope in the lives of clients. I have experienced on numerous encounters with clients a shift towards improvement from the very first session just through psychotherapy. I believe in providing psychoeducation and introducing coping skills even from the first session with a client."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This response shows a deep understanding of your own strengths and how they align with the counseling profession. Good for you!

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  • 22. As a Mental Health Counselor, how do you define your success?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As a mental health counselor, I define my success through the progress of my clients. If I am able to stabilize my clients in a manner where they are able to live successful or meaningful lives, I believe that I have achieved great success."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great--you do a good job of sharing what success means to you in the context of your work!

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  • 23. Tell me about a time when your counselling strategies helped a client to address a substantial issue. What strategies did you deploy?

      How to Answer

      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?

      Entry Level

      "(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."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above 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.

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  • 24. Tell me about a time when you witnessed a significant improvement in a clients' situation through counselling.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to discuss a significant time in your counseling career when you noticed a significant shift and change in your client. Think of a time when you made a positive impact on your client by offering a helpful counseling method.

      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.

      Entry Level

      "(Situation) While completing my internship, I was assisting the lead counselor with a client diagnosed with dysthymic disorder. (Task) As an intern, I primarily observed the client and took notes while helping the counselor to document the session afterward. (Action) When the client first came in for therapy, he demonstrated suicidal ideation. In each session, the counselor gave him room to talk and share the difficulties he had been experiencing. They set attainable short term goals, often targets that were for the following day or just a few days in advance. This approach allowed the client to have moments to look forward to without feeling overwhelmed by looking too far into the future. (Result) Within only four months, he was feeling more in control of his feelings, and his self-esteem improved. He stopped having thoughts of harming himself and instead was much more accepting of the possibilities for his future. It was remarkable to see this turnaround, and this experience further supported my desire to become a Mental Health Counselor."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I treated a client who was referred to me for anxiety. The client could not sit still, she shook her legs and swallowed often. She said that she could not avoid doing so. She told me that she was sexually abused as a child by her mom's boyfriend but it stopped as she grew older but at the time she had a sister at home who was her age when she was abused and that she was very scared that her sister may have the same experience. I counseled her using Cognitive Behavior Therapy as well as I introduced several calming techniques. After about two to three weeks the shaking and swallowing stopped and normalcy was restored to the client. This client's experience really impacted her life and she continued her education in Counseling Psychology. Presently, she is serving as a mental health therapist. ( I must say that the incident was also reported)."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is an impactful specific example--it sounds like you were able to really support this client in seeking positive change for her life.

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  • 25. What do you know about our facility/organization?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I admire the established principle where applicants are notified about the unacceptance of tobacco and other substances. These are guidelines that will be introduced to clients for healthy living and therefore, should be modeled by therapists who will be attending to them. The facility does not only promote mental/emotional healing but also includes physical, and spiritual healing as well."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good--sounds like you've done your research!

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  • 26. What do you believe makes you an excellent Mental Health Counselor?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted 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."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You highlight important characteristics here. Great response!

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  • 27. What methods do you use to help your clients speak up about their issues and needs?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "As I welcome and attend to clients I always let them know that they are in a safe space and whatever is said by them is confidential except if they are planning to harm themselves or others, then it is legally and ethically required for me to report their case. I also make eye contact and use body language such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward. I also use clarifying questions when clients are sharing their information."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      This absolutely follows the basic ethics of the counseling profession, but I suggest personalizing this response a bit. What do you do specifically to help your clients speak up?

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  • 28. Have you ever worked with a patient who you felt was previously misdiagnosed? If so, how did you handle the situation?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have never treated a client who I believe was misdiagnosed. However, should I have this form of experience I will first of all share my concerns with my supervisor regarding the client. With the supervisor's guidance and permission, as well as along with the client's knowledge and permission, I will discuss my client's case with the referring psychiatrist."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good--this is a thorough response and shows you are well-prepared for this type of challenge, even if you haven't personally encountered a misdiagnosis yet.

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  • 29. Mental Health Counselors require a high degree of fortitude and patience. How have you developed these qualities?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am patient by nature. However, working as a counselor has strengthened my patience through my empathy and compassion for clients. Patience has helped me give quality care to a client/patient. Patience has helped me to be a better listener and allowed me to show more empathy and compassion, which promotes better outcomes for the client. However, in times of challenges, I usually step aside and do some deep breathing techniques to stay calm, and I practice these calming techniques daily (havening, deep breathing, and grounding)."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response; it's evident that you have a good deal of self-awareness, and you understand how your traits align with the needs of your clients. It sounds like you have the perfect demeanor to be a therapist!

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  • 30. What brings you the most job satisfaction as a Mental Health Counselor?

      How to Answer

      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?

      Entry Level

      "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."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "It gives me great satisfaction when I see a client is able to smile and resume a normal way of living. It gives me great satisfaction to see clients achieving positive results by applying various coping techniques to life challenges which empowers them in managing their emotions as well as their behaviors."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Wonderful! Your clients are very lucky to have you.

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