Mental Health Professionals: What's The Difference?

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If you or a loved one has experienced trauma in any of its forms (the most basic being sexual, physical, or emotional) it is probably a good idea to seek some form of counseling. There are many different types of professionals that can offer some support. So many, in fact, that it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly which professional you need. Between psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and therapists, trying to find help is half of the battle. Here are a few key differences to know when you begin your search.

Therapists. Do not be confused. A therapist is the most basic title for someone who offers therapy. Therapy is basically any form of treatment that is aimed at helping an individual overcome a negative event in their life. Therapy is offered in many different fields, including physical therapy (for physical injuries), speech therapy (for speech impediments), and many different types of behavioral and talk therapies to treat traumatic experiences. Thus, if you are looking for a professional, you may want to narrow your search to more than just a therapist. 

Counselors. A counselor is another basic term for someone that has received some form of professional certification in counseling. This usually includes a masters degree from a certified organization. The term counselor usually implies an individual who is qualified to give advice in some form.

Psychologists. Psychologists are individuals who have usually received a doctorate degree in psychology. There are many different fields of study within psychology, but the basic gist of a psychologist is to note patterns in how an individual is thinking or acting and to help them overcome ruts they may be trapped in. Psychologists are experts at listening and guiding people to a healthier frame of mind. 

Psychiatrists. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor who also specializes in mental health. Having both certifications allows them to assess both the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual. This is especially helpful in cases where people suffer from a treatable disease that prevents them from living a normal life, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorders. In order for these individuals to be healthy mentally, they must first be treated physically, which is where a psychiatrist comes in handy. 

Hopefully this information will help you on your path to mental health. If you do not know where to begin, talk to your medical doctor for referrals, or contact a facility like Commonwealth Affiliates PC.