When it comes to mental health, there are a variety of professionals who can help. From psychiatrists to psychologists to family nurse practitioners, there are many different types of mental health professionals who can provide support and treatment. It's important to understand the differences between these professionals and the services they provide in order to make an informed decision about your care. Psychiatrists are licensed doctors who have completed specialized training in mental health.
They can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications, and provide therapy. Some psychiatrists have additional training in child and adolescent mental health, substance use disorders, or geriatric psychiatry. Nurses specializing in psychiatry or mental health can provide evaluations, diagnoses, and therapies for mental health conditions or substance use disorders. In some states, they are also qualified to prescribe and monitor medications.
The requirements also vary from state to state in terms of the degree of supervision needed by a licensed psychiatrist. Primary care doctors and pediatricians can prescribe medications, but you might consider visiting someone who specializes in mental health care. Primary care and mental health professionals must work together to determine the best treatment plan for each person. Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can provide general medical services such as those of a primary care doctor, depending on the laws of each state.
Like primary care doctors, they can prescribe medications, but you might consider visiting someone who specializes in mental health care. Family nurses and mental health professionals must work together to determine the best treatment plan for each person. The first image that comes to mind when many people think of a psychologist is a person lying on a leather couch, telling the doctor about their feelings. That happens sometimes, but psychologists do more than ask you how you're feeling. Psychologists specialize in the science of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts.
They work in places such as private offices, hospitals, or schools. Psychologists deal with a variety of topics, from relationship problems to mental illness, through counseling. A psychologist usually has a doctorate such as a Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD). Psychologists can't prescribe medications in most states. Psychiatrists primarily diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They use psychiatric medicine, physical exams, and laboratory tests.
A psychiatrist is a doctor with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. Be careful when selecting a psychoanalyst. The degree and the credential are not protected by federal or state law, which means that anyone can call themselves a psychoanalyst and advertise their services. Psychiatric nurses perform psychological therapy and administer psychiatric medications. They often face challenging behaviors related to mental health conditions.
They operate under the supervision of a doctor. The training of a mental health professional depends on their specific field as well as the state in which they practice. Psychologists often require a doctorate. Nearly every state requires that all types of counselors have a college degree with specialized training. While there's an industrial-sized tin packed with counselor and therapist credentials, not all of them are designations you'll come across regularly. The following types of mental health professionals are the most common: Psychiatrists; Psychologists; Social Workers; Marriage & Family Therapists; Licensed Professional Counselors; Licensed Mental Health Counselors; Nationally Certified Counselors. Keep in mind that with the exception of a psychiatrist and possibly a psychologist (depending on your personal preferences), all of these professionals are grouped under the generic term “therapist” or “counselor”.A psychiatrist is a doctor and will have the word “MD” after their name.
Psychiatrists are primarily concerned with the physical brain and what can go wrong with it from a medical point of view. As such, they are the ones who diagnose mental illnesses and prescribe psychiatric medications. Keep in mind that primary care doctors can and do prescribe medications as well, especially for problems such as depression and anxiety. It's not uncommon for people to see a psychiatrist for medication and another professional for therapy. Psychologists are among psychiatrists and therapists. Some psychologists have master's degrees while others have doctorates (but not doctors).
Psychologists with doctorate degrees carry the title of “doctor”. They may have the designation PsyD (doctorate in psychology), EdD (doctorate in education indicating that their doctoral program in psychology was part of a university's faculty of education) or PhD (doctorate in philosophy). As for the services they offer you there is no practical difference between doctoral designations; however you might not see a doctorate in practice as they are generally more focused on research. A psychologist's first step is usually to help you determine if you have a specific mental health condition. Through formal evaluations (tests), they can diagnose mental illness or symptoms of mental illness that are bothersome but do not meet the criteria for a formal diagnosis. After determining what's wrong, a psychologist will work with you through one or more forms of psychotherapy to help you thrive again.
Psychologists are often more specialized than other counselors and therapists. If you have complex post-traumatic stress disorder for example working with a psychologist who specializes in that disorder could be very helpful. If you are in the military or live in Nevada New Mexico or Illinois you can see a psychologist who will prescribe medication for you. In these states and in the armed forces psychologists can use medications in their treatment if they have additional training in psychopharmacology (psychiatric medication).Social work is an incredibly broad field. A social worker can provide counseling to people in private practice but they often work in places such as schools hospitals detention centers courts and many other systems and organizations.
They advocate for children and underserved populations and help people navigate overwhelming systems. They support a wide range of people in all environments. In much of their work they are like other therapists and counselors in providing individual or group counseling services. The credentials held by marriage & family therapists include MFT (marriage & family therapist) MFCC (marriage family & child counselor) LMFT (licensed marriage & family counselor) & LCMFT (licensed clinical marriage & family therapist). If your counselor's name is followed by LPC he or she is a licensed professional counselor. A very similar designation is LMHC or licensed mental health counselor. If you work with someone who is accredited as an NCC he or she is a nationally certified counselor.
All three have master's degrees in counseling & have passed the tests required to obtain their credentials. Like social workers & marriage & family therapists licensed professional counselors & licensed mental health counselors must complete continuing education courses & pass exams every few years to maintain their licenses.