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Types of Mental
Health Professionals

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  • 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. 

How do I know what is right for me?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to mental health. However, many people find that seeing both a therapist for talk therapy and getting psychiatric care for medications at the same is the most effective at treating symptoms. This is especially recommended if you are having severe symptoms. 

If you are not able or willing to seek both types of treatment then it comes down to personal choice and what your goals and needs are. Choosing a therapist can be a daunting task but you should look to find someone who specialize in the issues you want to address and who you feel you can connect with. 

I'm happy to talk with you about what your needs and goals are and determine what might be best for you.

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