This article can help you if you need help, but you’re not sure about the type of mental health professional to see. If you want more information about what different mental health professionals do and if you want to know how to get help from a mental health professional.
Learn about mental health professionals and the differences between doctors, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, youth workers and social workers here :
- Psychologist (Ph.D or Psy.D) – Earn doctorate in psychology and go through special training to provide mental health and assessment services. They are your go-to for diagnostic assessments (like ADD or Bi-Polar), but they can also provide counselling one-on-one or in a group setting.
- Psychiatrist (M.D. or D.O.) – The only mental health professional who can prescribe medication. They go to medical school and an additional 4 years of residency training in psychiatry. They can run assessments but typically don’t work exclusively as counsellors.
- Social Worker (LMSW) – Earn master’s degree or Ph.D in social work and receive training in community and social welfare. They often work as counsellors focusing on areas like finances, housing, and access to government benefits.
- Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) – Earn master’s degree or Ph.D in marriage and family therapy and focus on family systems. They do counselling with families, couples, and individuals and treat problems as relational issues.
- Counselor (LPC, LHMC) – Earn master’s degree or Ph.D in counselling and focus on individual and group therapy. They treat problems as individual issues and may get additional training in specific areas like trauma, child counselling etc.
- Life Coach – Does not require any credentials or license. Anyone can be a life coach regardless of training or education, but often coaches will seek out certification of some kind. Look for a coach that has a specialty and education.
Not sure how to find the person you need to talk to? A visit to your GP is always a great place to start.