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Types of Mental Health Professionals

  • Therapist/Counselor/Psychotherapist/Talk Therapist: These labels can all be used interchangeably and refer to a professional with a Master's level degree or higher and who is trained in diagnosing and treating mental health issues using a "talk therapy" style of treatment. A licensed therapist has not only received a graduate degree but also received years of supervision and passed a test. They include:

    • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)- Trained to provide mental health treatment for individuals, families, and groups. Also trained in "macro" issues related to community organization and social justice.​

    • Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (LMHC)- Trained to provide mental health treatment for individuals, families, and groups.

    • Psychologist (PhD, PsyD, or EdD)- Trained to provide mental health treatment for individuals, families, and groups. Trained in formal psychological testing. Many psychology programs focus on research rather than clinical work. 

  • Psychiatrist: A medical doctor with specialized training in treating mental health issues with medications. Many psychiatrists only provide medication management while others provide both medication and talk therapy. 

  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: A medical nurse practitioner (graduate level degree) with specialized training in treating mental health issues with medications. Most only prescribe medications and do not provide therapy. May be prohibited from prescribing certain medications (narcotics).

  • Life Coach: Does not require any formal education or training nor are they regulated by any licensing board or laws governing mental health care. Life Coaches focus on support and helping their clients overcome obstacles and reach goals. 

 
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