How To Become A Therapist In Nigeria

This is a detailed guide on how to become a therapist in Nigeria, read to the end to gain more insight.

A therapist is a person who is competent in treating mental, emotional, and physical health problems and disabilities usually with a particular type of therapy.

Therapists can help a wide variety of people, and there are many disciplines within the profession which include psychotherapists, behavioral therapists, cognitive-behavioral therapists, interpersonal therapists, mindfulness-based therapists, recreational therapists, etc.

Many of these therapist fields have matching educational and professional paths, but some have specific requirements as well.

However, if you are planning to become a therapist in Nigeria, this article on how to become a therapist in Nigeria will be of great help to you.

About Therapists

Therapists carry out a whole lot of responsibilities, they work one on one with patients to help them overcome their problems.

The problems can come in different forms including emotional problems, mental issues, relationship issues, physical health problems, behavioral disorders, etc.

However, there are different fields of therapy, and what therapists do depends primarily on the type of therapists they are.

Although initially, the job of a therapist typically has to do with helping people improve their well-being, and functionality in different areas of life, whether emotional, relational, occupational, physical, or mental.

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Types Of Therapists

There are different types of therapists in Nigeria, and each type has its specialized field. However, below are the different types of therapists in Nigeria.

1. Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists help people with brief disabilities to return to their normal state and also help people with permanent disabilities to live more independently and perform everyday activities.

They use therapeutic techniques to improve, rehabilitate, or maintain a patient’s ability to execute daily activities.

2. Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists help people to rebuild skills, enhance mood, and boost their quality of life, and social connections.

They use leisure and recreational activities such as arts and crafts to help people with specific health conditions to enhance their skills, powers, general health, and emotional well-being.

3. Marriage And Family Therapists

A marriage and family therapists work with couples or family members to help them manage or resolve interpersonal conflicts or challenges, or emotional trauma.

They also address the behaviors of people in a marriage or the individual behaviors of family members, and also study the connections between family members.

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Additionally,  marriage and family therapists employ psychotherapy tools, skills, and principles to fix family relationships and treat any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to the conflict in marriage or an entire family.

4. Behavioral Therapist

Behavioral therapists assist people to change their behaviors and generally work with people with behavioral disorders.

These therapists work with clients who are undergoing challenges because of a mental disorder. These clients may be struggling with attention-deficit hyperactivity conditions, so they might help them create coping strategies so they can improve their everyday life.

5. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist

A cognitive-behavioral therapist uses behavioral and psychotherapeutic approaches to help their clients address different psychological difficulties, including substance misuse, depression, and eating disorders.

6. Child Therapists

Child therapists help children cope with behavioral or emotional imbalance so that they can grow in a more healthy way.

7. Addiction therapists

Addiction therapists help clients to overcome their addiction to substances such as hard drugs and alcohol.

They may help such patients talk about issues from their past that may have led to their addiction.

However, some addiction therapists work privately with clients, while others may work with a group of people at a time who are struggling with addiction and who can talk about their individual experiences to help one another.

8. Divorce therapists

Divorce therapists help couples who are struggling in their marriage and sense that they are approaching divorce.

These therapists often work personally with each of the partners as well as with the couple together.

Some of the typical subjects that divorce therapists discuss the couples experiencing problems in marriages include communication, infidelity, inequality, and abuse.

9. Eating disorder therapist

 Eating disorder therapists help patients with eating conditions. The treatment given to eating disorder patients has to do with the nature of the disorder and its symptoms.

However, the treatment is often a combination of nutrition education, psychotherapy, and perhaps medication.

10. Exercise therapists

Exercise therapists help their clients return to their normal selves after experiencing an injury or recovering from an illness or disease.

They come up with an exercise practice to help their clients cope with the physiological pain they may be going through.

However, their goal is to help patients become more physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, with better mobility, less pain, greater independence, and improved quality of life.

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Other types of therapists include:

  • Clinical therapist
  • Cognitive therapist
  • Youth therapists
  • Social work therapist
  • School therapist
  • Trauma therapist
  • Nutritional therapist
  • Social therapist
  • Dialectical behavior therapist
  • Psychodynamic therapist

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What Makes a Good Therapist?

In every profession, there are things that make people be called professionals, and these things make them stand out wherever they go.

However, the same applies to therapists, there are skills therapists must have to stand out wherever they go and these important skills include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Flexibility
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Listening skills
  • Observational skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Patience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Speaking skills
  • Writing skillS, etc.

However, a  professional therapist must be able to communicate thoroughly with a client to be able to deduce a client’s needs during a therapy session.

This requires patience and listening skills as therapists need to understand what a client’s problem is before they can start treating it.

Therapists need to be observant so they can capture the non-verbal action of their clients and also interpret things that are not explicitly stated by the client.

Therapists must be resourceful and flexible so that they can meet the individual needs of their clients.

Additionally, , therapists need to be organized so they can keep a record of the work they have done with their clients. Ultimately, a therapist and the client must have a mutual understanding during therapy sessions.

How To Become A Therapist In Nigeria

In Nigeria, therapist and counselor are used interchangeably and you do not need any professional qualifications to become a counselor or a therapist, or a license to practice them in Nigeria.

There is no law regulating the practice of counseling or therapy in Nigeria, you can decide to be addressed as a counselor after getting the skills to become one.

If you have the necessary skills to practice as a therapist in Nigeria, you can practice with no one restricting you, but it is always advisable to get proper training and certification to scale through.

However, if you are not trained or certified as a counselor, you would be referred to as a quasi-counselor.

Although there is no law stating that you need any specific qualification to practice as a counselor or therapist in Nigeria, it is advisable to get the necessary training and be qualified as a therapist before scouting for clients.

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However, the first step to becoming a therapist in Nigeria is to either get a degree in Guidance and counseling, psychology, or psychiatry from an accredited higher institution or take professional courses physically or online.

Secondly, you need to have the necessary skills to actually help clients overcome their challenges, so apart from getting the necessary training, you have to read books on counseling and therapy, watch YouTube videos, and listen to podcasts that teach about therapy.

Furthermore, becoming a therapist in Nigeria might take at least four to seven years especially if you enrolled in a higher institution for a bachelor’s degree, and afterward a master’s degree if you wanted to further your education.

However, if you do not want to become a therapist in Nigeria by enrolling in a higher institution like a university, you can get organized training by enrolling in the Institute of Counselling in Nigeria.

This institute trains people to become professional counselors, it aims to provide professional training in the field of clinical counseling and enable people to obtain professional certificates in the field of counseling and psychotherapy in Africa.

The institution is open to students from every part of the world and guides students till they start living their dream of helping others to be their best selves.

Also, the institution gives students access to mentoring and up-to-date materials in the field of counseling and psychotherapy skills and practices.

The institution offers Diploma Courses, Certificate Courses, Instant Courses, and Short Term Courses.

However, you can enroll as a full-time student, part-time student, or online student. The courses offered in the institute of counseling in Nigeria are:

  • Child & Adolescent Counseling
  • Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling.
  • Sex Therapy
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Grief and Bereavement Counseling
  • Relationship, Couples & Family Counseling

That’s all on how to become a therapist in Nigeria, I hope it helps you fulfill your dream of becoming a therapist in Nigeria.

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