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What’s the Difference Between Psychiatrist, Psychologisy, & Counselor?

In a study of 2,000 Americans, 88% said they’ve experienced at least one of the symptoms that professionals use to assess depression. It is likely that many of your coworkers have been to some type of mental health professional.

Many people can feel overwhelmed when they start searching for the right type of counseling. Is going in person better than online sessions? What’s the difference anyway?

In one study where the benefits of online therapy were evaluated, researchers aggregated results from over 90 different studies—including almost 10,000 participants—on issues ranging from panic and anxiety to smoking cessation to weight loss. They concluded that online counseling was as effective as in-person methods when treating anxiety and depression, and could be a useful form of treatment for many issues. Below is a quick description of different types of mental health professionals. To help discover the right type of therapist for you, it helps to look for a professional that best fits your needs.

Clinical social workers (CSW) receive advanced training in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and other behavioral disorders. Clinical social workers have more clinical experience than professional social workers who do not have the clinical designation.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) Or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is a counselor whose education is geared specifically toward clinical assessment, treatment, and psychotherapy. Mental health counselors receive training in mental illness, psychotherapy, and clinical intervention services.

Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist (LMFT) focuses on relationship, marital, and family problems related to mental health. Marriage and family therapists work with couples, parents, children, siblings, etc. They specialize in the family dynamic.

Clinical Psychologist (Ph.D. Or PsyD) is a mental health professional who has received a doctoral degree. However, they cannot prescribe medication because their doctorate is not a medical degree.

Psychiatrist (MD) are medical doctors who have received advanced training and education in mental health and psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists typically focus on medication management, most do not offer counseling services.

So it’s clear as mud why someone may be overwhelmed. Step one is knowing you could use help and being honest with yourself about your symptoms. A great place to start your search is with your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You may also refer to the previous Frame of Mind Friday post Where Can I Find Help?

Mental health care is available and common, you are not alone. In the study mentioned at the beginning of this post, of the 2,000 Americans, 73% had been to a therapist. The last year and a half has been very emotional and a strain on mental health, if you need someone to talk to, don’t put it off, your mental health is as important as your physical health.