Choosing the Right Professional
If you’ve decided to seek help for a mental health crisis and you’ve never seen a mental health provider before, you may not know how to find one who suits your specific needs. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search for a mental health provider.
Mental Health Professionals diagnose mental health conditions and provide treatment. Most have at least a master’s degree or more-advanced education, training and credentials. These professionals specialize in different areas of mental health and wellness. Each type of professional plays a key role in identifying and treating psychological and psychiatric health issues, the main differences between these professionals are in their licenses, experience, education, and approaches to treatment. Mental Health Professionals will discuss behaviors and help you to understand how these behaviors elicit unwanted results they will work with you to understand you and your life by asking questions that show your thought process. The more they know about you, the more effective their counseling is.
A mental health counselor is someone who has specifically studied counseling, they specifically work with people dealing with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional issues. Counselors work with individuals, families, groups, and communities to deal with mental health issues and improve mental well-being. A mental health counselor is a professional who utilizes a variety of psychotherapy methods and techniques to help people experiencing psychological distress.
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Clinical Social Workers
When people hear “social worker,” they think of professionals who provide social services in hospitals and agencies. However, some social workers also practice psychotherapy. They are usually more attuned to the individual in their environment, and they do not usually provide psychological testing. Social workers may be LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), LICSWs (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker), LSWs (Licensed Social Worker), among an alphabet soup of titles.
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A therapist, as it is used in the mental health world, typically means a psychotherapist, one who has been trained in using psychotherapeutic techniques to treat mental illness. Therapists use a wide range of treatment types and therapy approaches. Many consider psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors to be “psychotherapists”.
» more about Mental Health Treatment Types
» more about Mental Health Therapy Approaches
A psychotherapist is a term used for any professional who is trained to treat people for their emotional problems. Depending upon their academic degree, a psychotherapist can be a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker (among others), and work with individuals, couples, groups, or families. Psychotherapy is that specific field of work that emerges from psychology, the study of the mind.
» more about Psychotherapy
A psychologist also has a doctorate degree, and so also goes by “Dr.” Psychologists are trained specifically in psychotherapy and mental health assessment, and typically do not prescribe medication. Psychologists often do talk therapy in 45 to 50-minute weekly visits, focused on coping skills, recovering from trauma, and any other specific symptoms or concerns you may bring in. Psychologists also do mental health screenings, behavioral health assessments and mental health evaluations.
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» about Mental Health Provider Certifications & Credentials
» about Credential Abbreviations