Child Abuse Counselor

Child Abuse Counselor Certification and Education

Education for Child Abuse Counselors will provide you with the necessary requirements to be able to work effectively and safely as a professional counselor. Working with children in the role of child abuse counselor is one of the most sensitive and important careers possible.

Those looking to become child abuse counselors are required to be credentialed mental health counselors who have work experience in different forms of abuse. Child abuse counselors are highly trained and work with young and old victims of childhood abuse. In some instances, the counselor will only work with abusers. The type of therapy these counselors use will be based on the client.

In most cases, children have a positive reaction to therapy that involves play. Nowadays, parents will see a counselor who uses the practice. Counselors may choose to prescribe therapy that ranges from play therapy to one-on-one conversation. Sometimes the counselor may choose to use cognitive therapy. Each therapy’s purpose is to help the child understand that they didn’t do anything to deserve abuse. Counselors provide the child with a space to talk about the abuse and the words to explain themselves.

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you. (It’s fast and free!)


Child abuse counselors work with patients who have sustained physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. These counselors may work with traumatized children and adult survivors of childhood abuse. Children who have been traumatized often experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Child abuse counselors may be part of a unified team that can often include social workers, nurses, and doctors. The counselor usually sets therapy goals that are appropriate to the child’s age or developmental level. Play therapy and Cognitive therapy are two forms of therapy that have proven effective in helping survivors of child abuse. This field of counseling has proven rewarding to those who have a strong sense of helping children who have sustained abuse.

During therapy, the counselor will asses the child’s progress through goals that they have set based on how old the child is and their level of development. Child Abuse Counselor Counselors may be part of a unified team that includes key social workers, nurses, and doctors. Often, the family of the client is supportive and wants to be involved in the therapy process. In cases like this, therapy will be conducted while involving the family members and children.

Children that have found themselves victims of childhood abuse often times suffer from PTSD, anxiety or other nervous disorders. In therapy, children are taught how to reduce their stress and relax. Some counselors will seek out treatment centers that specialize in these types of therapies.

The Need for Counseling All Survivors of Abuse

Many survivors of abuse are now adults; this represents another major segment of the population that needs treatment. Traditionally, sexual abuse was underreported; unfortunately, the perceived stigma of reporting kept many people from doing so. Therefore, many victims have not received the treatment they need. Very often, adult survivors may have developed a variety of mental health issues as a result of past abuse. Often, there is the manifestation of anxiety and other neuroses. Depending on the person, they may be too protective of their child and others might be too distant. Some people, they might not know what the right amount of affection is or find affection off-putting. Counselors are needed to help patients discover connections, or correlations, between their current issues and abuse sustained in the past.

How to Become a Child Abuse Counselor

In order to be licensed as a child abuse counselor, it is required that an individual obtain at least a Master’s degree. Some pursue a doctoral degree to further their education and attain the highest professional clout they can. Many candidates pursue Master’s degrees in counseling or related fields such as social work, marriage and family therapy, or counseling psychology,  where the median salary in 2015 was between $41,880 and $45,900 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. It takes quite a bit of education to become a licensed counselor, but a person can begin exploring the field by volunteering at a crisis shelter.

Licensing and Certification

Typically, states are going to require child abuse counselors, like other counselors, to be credentialed according to the standards set by that state’s board.  Prior to obtaining full credentials as a counselor, the candidate will need to successfully complete an examination and oversee practice hours. Background checks are required by all looking to become counselors. Child abuse counselors in some situations may be allowed to achieve lower-level credentials while accumulating hours, they may also receive certifications in fields such as play therapy.