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Beginner · Specialization · 3-6 Months
Therapy is any kind of treatment or combination of treatments intended to treat a condition, illness, or disorder. There are an incredibly wide range of types of therapy practiced today, and collectively these therapies are important to improving wellbeing across the full spectrum of physical and mental challenges experienced by patients.
Physical therapy is often required to help recovery from sports injuries like broken bones and muscle tears or the management of chronic conditions such as back pain or arthritis. In many cases, normal body movement, a full range of physical function, and pain relief can be achieved through a combination of exercise, hands-on care practices such as massage, and patient education.
Many psychological issues such as depression, substance abuse disorders, and anxiety can also be treated with therapeutic approaches. Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” can be essential to diagnosing issues and helping patients understand their conditions and become more aware of how to manage them in daily life. Complementary therapies such as positive psychiatry, art therapy, meditation, and more may also be employed as part of an integrative therapy approach that brings together multiple therapeutic techniques.
If you’re passionate about helping people and improving their wellbeing, there are as many types of careers in the world of therapy as there are types of therapies. If you want to help resolve conflicts in relationships, you can become a couples counselor or family therapist; if you want to help athletes recover from sports injuries, you can become a physical therapist; and if you want to help treat psychological issues, you can become a psychologist or take on a more specialized role such as an art therapist.
Regardless of what type of therapy career you want to pursue, these jobs are well-paying and in high demand. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics physical therapists earned a median annual salary of $89,440 per year in 2019, and these jobs are projected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.
Yes! Coursera offers courses covering a wide range of therapeutic approaches, including physical therapy, psychotherapy, positive psychiatry, integrative therapy, and even art therapy. You can learn remotely from top-ranked schools around the world, including Johns Hopkins University, University of Florida, University of Toronto, University of Minnesota, and University of Sydney. And, because you can view course materials and complete assignments on a flexible schedule, learning online with Coursera means being able to build your therapy skills alongside your existing career or studies.
The skills or experience you may need to have to study therapy include spending time in a health care or community setting where you may have been exposed to people going through traumatic situations. If you have had any experience in a setting where patients were struggling with substance use disorders, you may have valuable skills for studying therapy. Some of the practical skills that could be helpful before learning therapy may include understanding how to do reflective listening, assess needs, and intervene in a crisis.
The kind of people who are best suited for roles in therapy genuinely enjoy being around other people and learning about their lives. They are also extremely attentive listeners and can think analytically to determine the underlying challenges of a situation. People who have struggled with mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, may be ideal individuals for roles in therapy because they may be capable of feeling genuine empathy.
Learning therapy may be right for you if you genuinely want to help people with mental health challenges understand their issues, feel better, and behave differently by using various coping mechanisms. It may benefit you to learn therapy if you want to know advanced ways to uncover the true nature of a person, couple, or family’s psychological condition to determine the best course of treatment. Learning therapy may be right for you if you want to help others find purpose in meaning in their lives through therapeutic means.
There is a large range of common career paths for someone who has studied therapy. Types of therapy include family, behavioral, cognitive, and rehabilitation that take place in all kinds of settings such as education, health care, and corporate environments. For example, someone who studied therapy can go forward to further study clinical psychology, counseling, or social work. There are numerous other career paths for those who have studied therapy, including engineering psychology to research how humans interact with machines, consumer psychology to research how retailers can attract consumers, or career counseling to help others find the right vocation.
The topics you can study that are related to the subject of therapy can range from obesity and anatomy to mindfulness and the arts. Studying physical conditions such as obesity may help you better understand the psychological concepts around a therapy patient’s brain control of appetite and body weight, for example. Understanding anatomy can help you better understand therapy patients with chronic pain or disease. The related areas of mindfulness and art are often used within therapy as ways to help a patient focus, reflect, and explore attitudes, mental habits, and behaviors.