Mental health providers are basically professionals who diagnose mental health conditions and provide treatment to patients or sufferers. Most of them have at least a master’s degree or more advanced education as well as training credentials.
Getting help for emotional, spiritual, mental, and relationship issues can be difficult but getting help from a true mental health professional can aid you in taking control of these issues. But, what type of mental health professional is right for you is definitely a question that needs careful understanding of your own ailment.
Some important things you must know about mental health professionals’ background include:
- State license
- Postgraduate degrees: Masters or Doctorate
- Clinical experience
- Published articles
Note that the prices they charge or the education they have is not an indicator of their qualification. Therefore, discussed ahead are the details of some mental health professionals which may help you find out which one is the right mental health professional for you!
So, what type of mental health professional is right for you? Some of the common types of Mental Health Professionals are described below to help you understand that.
A psychiatrist is a doctor holding a degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Psychiatrists mainly diagnose, treat, and help people prevent emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders or issues.
They use medicines, lab tests, and physical exams for diagnosis and treatment. A psychiatrists’ specialties include –
- Forensic Psychiatry
- Learning abilities
- Children & adolescents
A psychologist has a doctoral degree (Ph.D., PsyD, EdD). A psychologist is a trained person that deals with thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
The treatment can either be done individually or in a group setting. A psychologist does the following –
- Provides psychological counseling
- Can diagnose and treat numerous mental health issues or disorders
- Cannot prescribe medication until licensed to do so
- May work with another provider to get a prescription if needed.
The term includes lots of different types of mental health professionals. This is a mixture of “psychologist” and “therapist.” It is a type of “talking therapy.” This therapy is designed to improve your improve your mental health and general wellbeing.
The most popular type of therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps you learn how to change behaviors, thought patterns or emotions.
Other therapies include group therapy, expression therapy, therapeutic conversation and more.
4. Psychiatric-mental nurse
A psychiatric-mental nurse is a registered nurse who is trained in prescribing medication for mental health issues or treating mental health conditions. They work under the supervision of a medical doctor.
Depending on their level of training, education, experience, and state law, mental health nurses –
- Deal with behaviors related to mental conditions.
- Perform psychological therapy and administer psychiatric medication.
- Can assess, diagnose, and treat mental illness.
- If state law allows, they can prescribe medication if they are an advanced practice nurse.
A psychoanalyst basically follows the theories and practice of Sigmund Freud by helping someone explore their repressed or unconscious impulse, anxiety, and internal conflicts.
This is done through techniques including –
- Free association
- Dream interpretation
- Analysis of resistance & transference
A psychoanalyst has its critics. However, people find that it helps them explore deep psychological & emotional disturbances that could create patterns of behavior without making them realize it.
Be careful in selecting a psychoanalyst as this title and credential are not protected by federal or state law.
This means that anyone can call himself a psychoanalyst and advertise their services.
6. Mental health counselor
This is a broad term used for describing someone who provides counseling. They are also known as “licensed” or “professional.” It is important to ask about a counselor’s experience, education, and types of services involved.
A counselor can specialize in the fields like –
- General stress
- Job stress
These licensed counselors –
- Provide diagnosis as well as counseling for various concerns
- Do not have a license prescribe medication
- Might work with other providers to write a prescription if needed.
7. Family and marriage counselor
A family and marriage counselor specializes in those common problems and issues that can come up in families and married couples. This ranges from differences to arguments.
Therapy sessions are typically focused on special issues and reaching quick resolutions. The length of therapy is normally brief. This kind of therapy is also used on a one-to-one basis.
Group sessions may also be used.
8. Social workers
Social workers are a group of people or public employees concerned with the helping of individuals and their families to solve issues and problems in their lives. These can include personal problems and disabilities.
One of the main aims of social workers is to help people develop their skills and abilities so that they could solve their problems and issues on their own.
They are often involved in the case like domestic violence and child abuse.
These social workers –
- Are not licensed to prescribe medication
- May work with another provider for a medical prescription if needed
- Provide diagnosis, counseling and various other services, depending on their licensing and training
Choose carefully according to your need and requirements. Consider the following when choosing a mental health provider –
- Education, training, licensing and years in practice
- Areas they specialize in as well as the services they offer
- Treatment approaches and philosophy
- Which insurance providers they work with
- Office hours, fees and length of sessions
Finding the right professional is crucial to establish a good relationship and get the most benefit out of your treatment. So, do not hesitate to ask so many questions.