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Who? What? & How? When It Comes to Mental Health Professionals

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Defining The Different Mental Health Professionals

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What’s the difference between a “therapist,” “counselor,” “psychologist,” and “psychiatrist”?

It can be easy to confuse these terms when trying to figure out what you need. So let’s unpack these a little bit!

Taken to the most basic level, the main differences between a therapist, counselor, psychologist, and psychiatrist are levels of schooling and focus. However, there are other factors that add to each role.

Counselor/ Therapist = Mental Health Professional

In the mental or emotional health realm, the word counselor most commonly refers to a master’s level clinician. In other words, someone who has completed an accredited, graduate-level program focused on clinical mental health. Most states have many requirements for therapists to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). These requirements can include internships, passing the National Counselor Exam (NCE), supervision, hundreds of hours of experience, and others.

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An LPC is able to diagnose mental health issues. A counselor or therapist provides psychotherapy to help their clients to find healing and to work through various emotional and relational issues. They use talk therapy, behavioral techniques, trauma therapy, family mapping, and a plethora of theories to help clients face and unpack different issues and struggles they face in life. A counselor can also be referred to as a therapist.

Psychologist = Doctorate Level Therapist

A psychologist is a doctoral-level clinician. They could also be a Licensed Professional Counselor. However, they have completed not only a Master’s level program but also their doctorate. They have often done extensive research and have had a longer time studying mental health. They can do all of the things the counselor does. They also do a wide range of assessments such as for intelligence and testing for learning disabilities. They have also earned the right to be called “Dr.” They can also diagnose and provide psychotherapy. And, they can be called therapists or counselors.

Psychiatrist = Medical Doctor

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A psychiatrist is also a doctoral-level clinician. However, they are also medical doctors. They have gone through Medical School. Psychiatrists use their medical knowledge to help clients. They are the Mental Health professionals who can prescribe medication.

While other medical doctors may also prescribe medication for mental health, a psychiatrist has specialized knowledge in this area. Each person is different and a psychiatrist is highly trained in being able to help their patients to find the right medication for their emotional needs – if medication is needed. A psychiatrist may also provide psychotherapy for their clients. Often they focus on the medication side and partner with a counselor to work through the client’s emotional or relational struggles.

Are You Ready to Start Healing In Effective Therapy With A Counselor in Smyrna, GA?

All three of these categories of Mental Health Professionals are vital to the wellbeing of our communities. Often, they work together to provide a wide framework of services in a community setting. We at Remain Connected are focused as Counselors and Therapists. We would love to partner with you in your journey towards healing!

If you are looking to find out who is best for you to see, just follow these steps:

  1. Reach out to speak with one of our Atlanta therapists

  2. Learn more about the different therapy services that we offer

  3. Start your healing journey!

Other Counseling Services We Offer Near Atlanta, GA

We offer several different mental health services at our Smyrna GA-based therapy practice. Such as teen therapy, anxiety treatment, and Pastoral counseling. Along with life transitions therapy, depression treatment, Christian counseling, and more. With teletherapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia.

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