Career and Job Search Guide

Primary Therapist

Eating disorders are often linked to mental health problems. Unfortunately, many people struggling with eating disorders never receive mental health treatment.

It is very difficult overcoming an eating disorder. In fact, many people afflicted with this problem often battle with it their whole lives. Many take action against their eating disorders by entering treatment programs. In these programs, patients will receive physical and psychological evaluations, and then be treated by various mental health and medical professionals. Since patients are treated by multiple professionals, it is necessary to efficiently plan and manage treatment. Primary therapists are responsible for supervising and managing treatment to ensure treatment is administered efficiently and as planned.

Primary therapists manage between 6-8 patients at a time. To ensure efficient care, they must frequently communicate with specialists and patients. In some circumstances, primary therapists provide counseling. Regardless of whether they provide counseling, primary therapists are still responsible for treatment management. They must ensure their patients receive assistance from whomever can assist them, which could include doctors, psychiatrists, and nutritionists. While managing each treatment plan, they must ensure that treatment is being provided properly and efficiently. Primary therapists are also responsible for making plan alterations when necessary.

Primary therapists are also responsible for documenting their patients' treatments. This is very important because it can be utilized in the future if treatment becomes necessary again. Once a treatment has been completed and documented, primary therapists are also responsible for reviewing records to ensure no mistakes or incorrect facts were documented. If a mistake is made, they must contact the person who administered the treatment or made the recording error for clarification.

Since primary therapists have knowledge about their clients' medical conditions and histories, they work closely with medical specialists administering treatments to their clients. For example, if a patient suffered a mental breakdown, a primary therapist could make recommendations to counseling and medical professionals before altering the patient's treatment plan. If a medical specialist is struggling with an uncooperative patient, he or she could seek advice for dealing with the patient from a primary therapist.

Effective primary therapists must have the ability to effectively communicate with medical specialists and their patients. They must also have very good organizational skills, be patient, and assertive with both patients and specialists when necessary. Those interested in primary therapy careers must either become licensed as marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, clinical social workers, or complete a PhD program in psychology or a subfield. This is an ideal field for psychology professionals with strong management skills.