Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

Mental Health Professionals are in various settings, such as private practices, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, schools, mental health clinics, etc. Mental health professionals do various types of work and have similar, but yet different type of schooling. When searching for the perfect therapist for yourself, you might see a few different letters behind their name, such as LPC, LCPC, MSW, LCSW, LMFT PsyD, PhD, MD, or even Dr. before their name. What do those letters stand for and are should I be aware of which therapist I am picking due to their credentials?

**Credentials can vary per state**

Psychologists typically have a PsyD which is a Doctorate of Philosophy. PsyD’s hold a doctorate degree and utilize the ability to evaluate clients and can administer tests. PsyD’s are found in various settings, but also in private practice and provide individual and group therapy.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is an individual that has a Masters degree and have passed the National Clinical Exam and completed an internship. These masters-level professionals are able to provide individual and group therapy in an outpatient setting, can work in hospitals, schools, and various other settings.

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPC) must have their LPC first and then complete certain number of hours of clinical face-to-face hours and supervision hours (varies per state) and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Examination.

Masters in Social Work (MSW) is an individual that has gone to obtain their masters in social work. They typically work in outpatient setting. After obtaining your masters, you can sit for an exam and obtain your LSW (Licensed Social Worker).

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)-This is the next step after obtaining your MSW or LSW. To have your LCSW, you have to have clinical supervision under a LCSW for 1.5 years and take the LCSW clinical exam.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) have similar training than LPC and LCPS except that their concentration is focused more on marriage and family. Therapists typically work with couples and families and have different exams and credentialing than LPCs and LCPCs.

Psychiatrists (Dr./MD) are individuals who are Doctors of Medicine. They have completed medical school (4 years) and perhaps residency (3-4 years) after. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications and can diagnosis individuals.

Each type of mental health professional can help you in many ways, just making sure that you are picking someone that fits your criteria the best. Education and training are often similar, as LPCs, LCPCs, MSWs, and LCSWs often times work together. All of these type of mental health professionals have a Masters degree and have had to pass certain exams to get to where they are now. Contact any of our talented therapists to learn more about their credentials and don’t forget we also provide a complimentary 20 minute phone consult!