Finding The Right Therapist
Finding the right therapist. What do all these titles mean?
It can be frustrating to find the right provider when looking for some help. What is even more frustrating is trying to figure out what kind of provider you are looking for. Typically, you begin your search by looking for the counseling term you are most familiar with. Maybe that word is “Counselor” or maybe it is “Psychologist” or even “Therapist”. So, you pick one and start your search. You may start with a web search looking for a therapist and what you see are web pages for speech therapists, massage therapists, behavior health therapist, psychotherapists and on and on. So, you change it to Counselor and now you see mental health counselors, camp counselor, and sometimes even attorneys. What is the right term and what is the difference between all these names?
In short, there is no correct term and there is not much difference between them. All these terms will lead you to a healthcare provider trained to provide counseling/therapy. Instead of focusing on the title you are looking for pay attention to whether the person holds a license. At a master’s level you may see LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist or a LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. At a Doctorate level you will see PHD or Psy.D. This is a Psychologist. Each of these providers offer therapy/counseling. However, a Clinical Psychologist can also provide psychological testing services, but they normally cannot prescribe medication. Finally, there is a Psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor that can prescribe medication and they sometime provide therapy. Making sure the person has a license is more important than their title or if they refer to themselves as a counselor or a therapist.