Therapists Explained: Who Do You Need to Talk To?

If you need therapy, chances are you are already overwhelmed. Many people avoid therapy simply because they don’t know who to choose. There are different kinds of counseling available to you. Who you choose may depend on your issue or your expectations. Here is information designed to make your decision easier.

1.Licensed Professional Counselor

According to Dr. W. Mark Hamilton, executive director of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, these professionals have a master’s degree in counseling and an additional 3,000 hours of experience. Licensed professional counselors can assist you with an array of problems. Some of these people offer their services independently, helping people overcome substance abuse, deal with parenting issues, or improving family relationships.

2.Social Workers

Many people do not understand the work that people in this profession do. Social workers do more than work with the poor, and do not concentrate solely on children. Social workers offer services in health-related fields that are overseen by managed care organizations. A social worker may be employed in a school, in a clinic or even independently. These professionals specialize in helping people achieve their best life in the environment in which they currently live.


A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in mental health and psychiatric illnesses. These doctors are permitted to prescribe drugs. Psychiatrists do not hand out pills like candy; these doctors are well-trained in psychotherapy, preferring to talk about issues at the start. Psychiatrists are best utilized by people who believe that they may have a serious mental illness or condition. These doctors are not who you would choose if you want to talk about the problems in your marriage.

Washington DC Therapist


Psychologists have doctorates in psychology; they are not able to prescribe medication. They can, however, refer you to a psychiatrist if medication is warranted for your situation. These professionals are trained in psychotherapy, counseling and psychological testing. Psychologists work to help patients identify issues and thoughts regarding themselves and the world that they live in. Psychologists can be found in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and in private practice.

5.How to Choose

No matter which type of counselor you choose, picking the right one takes a bit of work. Remember that this is the person to whom you will be telling your inner-most thoughts. You must be comfortable with the counselor that you choose. Ask friends and family which counselors they have used, if they have used any at all. Look for reviews online. Check licensing and credentials and, most important of all, meet the person and trust your gut.

Choosing a therapist can be a confusing process. Now that you know what the different types of counselors do, that process should be a bit easier. If you need help, get it. If you make the wrong choice in the beginning, you are always free to see someone else. The important thing is that you make at least an initial choice and get the process of healing started.

Writer Brett Harris is an education blogger. If you’ve decided to use therapy in your profession, you may be interested in Top Online Masters in Psychology Programs.

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