The type of mental health professional you seek will depend on what you need . In general, there are five types of mental health professionals you can see depending on what you need.
- Psychologist– Psychologists specialize in the science of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. They work in places like private offices, hospitals, or schools. Psychologists treat a range of issues, from relationship problems to mental illnesses, through counseling. A psychologist usually holds a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D (Doctor of philosophy) or PsyD. (Doctor of Psychology). Psychologists can’t prescribe medication in most states.
- Psychiatrist– Psychiatrists mainly diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They use psychiatric medicine, physical exams, and lab tests. A psychiatrist is a doctor with either a doctor of medicine (MD) degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree.
- Psychotherapist– These professionals all provide psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a type of “talking therapy.” It’s designed to improve your mental health and general well-being. There are many different schools of psychotherapy. They can involve therapeutic conversations, group therapy, expressive therapy, and more. The most popular type is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You can use CBT to help learn how to change bad behaviors, thought patterns, or emotions.
- Social Worker– Social workers are a group of public employees dedicated to helping people cope with and solve issues in their lives. These can include personal problems and disabilities. They may also address social problems like substance abuse, housing, and unemployment. Social workers are often involved in family disputes that involve domestic violence or child abuse.
- Mental Health Counselor– “Mental health counselor” is a broad term used to describe someone who provides counseling. Their titles may also include the terms “licensed” or “professional.” It’s important to ask about a counselor’s education, experience, and the types of services involved since the term is vague. Counselors can specialize in fields like job stress, addiction, marriages,families, and general stress.
I hope this helps you understand what type of mental health professional to see.