Mental health professionals are people who have chosen a career
service of people with mental health disorders. There are various types of
mental health professionals, each with different types of training. These are:
psychologists must have a Ph.D. degree. Like all mental health
professionals, they receive hundreds of
hours in supervised practice. They also spend a year in an internship
before becoming eligible to take licensure examinations. They specialize in the treatment of
mental disorders and many also have special
training in conducting and interpreting research on the treatment of
mental disorders. The help center for their largest professional
Psychological Association) can be
contacted for more information. To find a psychologist in your
area, go to this page.
Psychiatrists: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. After
completing medical school, psychiatrists choose residency settings
where they work with
mental illness instead of physical illness. Except for a few psychologists
and psychiatric nurses who receive
special training in prescribing psychiatric drugs, psychiatrists are the only mental health
professionals who can prescribe medication. Because of
their "prescription privileges," psychiatrists often work with other types of therapists
who refer patients to them to determine
whether they need medication to help with their condition, or
whether they have a medical condition that requires treatment.
For more information on psychiatrists visit the
American Psychiatric Association
Psychiatric Nurses: Psychiatric
nurses are licensed registered nurses with a minimum of a master's
degree, and are certified nationally.
The credential for advanced clinical practice is a certified
specialist (CS) or they may be
designated as APRN--advanced practice, registered nurse.
Some psychiatric nurses with special
training can prescribe medications for the treatment of mental
disorders, as well as administer therapy. Like the other mental
health professionals, they are required to have extensive supervised
clinical experience before they can be licensed. The American
Psychiatric Nurses Association can be contacted for further
Marriage and Family Therapists:
(also called MFCCs, for Marriage, Family, and Child Counselors) have graduate training (a Master's or Doctoral degree) in marriage
and family therapy and, like other mental health professionals, have
hundreds of hours of supervised clinical experience over a period of
at least two years.
Most states license, certify, or regulate Marriage and Family
Therapists. They specialize, as the name implies, in the prevention
and treatment of problems in the context of families, but they also
counsel individual children and adults. Contact the
American Association of Marriage and
Family Therapists for more information.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers: Clinical
social workers have either a master's or doctorate in social work
with a concentration in clinical course work, a supervised graduate
clinical field internship, and at least two years of postgraduate
supervised clinical social work employment. They work in both
prevention and treatment of mental disorders. The Center for Clinical Social Work can be contacted for further information.
undergo extensive education and training. At least a master's degree,
field training, and an internship are required, as with the other
mental health professionals. Licensure is
required in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The American Counseling
Association can be contacted for further information.