What's the Difference Between a Mental Health Professional and a Therapist?

Learn about the differences between counselors & therapists & how to choose which one is right for your needs.

What's the Difference Between a Mental Health Professional and a Therapist?

Licensed professional counselors and therapists provide mental health services, but they differ in education and training. A therapist typically has a master's degree or higher degree in counseling, which isn't always the case with a mental health counselor. Another common job title within mental health counseling is that of psychologist. While therapists and counselors may be considered more similar than different, the difference is more pronounced for psychologists.

You may have come across the term “counseling psychologist”. This is a different type of professional who can offer mental health services. Counseling psychologists have doctorate degrees in psychology. They are licensed as psychologists, not counselors.

Counselors often offer advice and advice, while therapists often perform psychotherapy. Again, this is heavily influenced by state laws on licensing and scope of practice. Therapy takes place over a longer period and tends to focus on more complex issues, while counseling tends to take place in the short term and tends to address a more focused topic. Finding a professional who understands where you're coming from can help make mental health treatment more comfortable. Before committing to a specific educational level, anyone interested in becoming a mental health professional should review some of the most common professional outcomes.

If you're in school, mental health services at the school and university levels can offer free sessions for students and, at the same time, have the convenience of having offices on campus. Like counselors, therapists focus on treatments that can benefit overall mental health and well-being. There are many difficulties that people can face throughout life, such as relationship challenges, stressful events, and mental health conditions. A therapist is a specially trained mental health professional who has been trained in psychotherapy techniques and treats mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists attend medical school for an MD or DO degree and often have additional training in mental health topics. If you think you might benefit from working with a counselor or therapist, contact a medical or mental health professional for more information.

Beyond their different areas of treatment, you can also consider the education and background of a prospective mental health professional. Unlike psychologists, psychiatrists receive medical training and can prescribe medications, although psychologists can prescribe medications in Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico and Louisiana, as well as in the Public Health Service, the Indian Health Service and the U. S. UU. If you're thinking about pursuing mental health, it can be exciting (and potentially overwhelming) to learn about the many job titles and careers available. Three of the most common job titles in the mental health industry are counselor, therapist and psychologist.

For example, counselors tend to work with life and shorter-term challenges, while therapists are more likely to treat mental health conditions and work on an ongoing basis. Timothy Legg is board certified as a nurse specializing in geriatric and psychiatric mental health and is also a licensed psychologist. In general, both counselors and therapists help clients overcome their mental health and life challenges. However, in specific terms, “counselor” and “therapist” refer to two different categories of mental health professionals.

When it comes to choosing between a counselor or therapist for your mental health needs it's important to understand the differences between them. Counselors tend to work with life issues such as relationship problems or stress management while therapists focus on treating mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. The educational background of each type of professional also varies greatly. Counselors typically have master's degrees while therapists usually have doctorate degrees in psychology or psychiatry.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illness with medication. It's important to find a professional who understands your needs when seeking help for your mental health issues. Researching each type of professional can help you decide which one is right for you. Consider their educational background as well as their experience with your particular issue before making your decision.