The decision to reach out and find help for mental health is a meaningful one that can create positive, lasting change. If you’ve begun looking for therapists and counselors in Boca Raton, you’ll notice a significant number of choices. You might be wondering what the differences between the various mental health professionals are and whether a psychologist, counselor, or psychotherapist is most suited to help you.
While all mental health professionals are required to have training and licensure, there are distinctions setting one specialty apart from another. The purpose of the following article is to explain what these differences are in order to help guide you in your search for counselors in Boca Raton. If you’d like to learn more about what makes Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing a beneficial choice, please contact us.
Psychotherapists, Therapists, and Counselors
Although many people use the term psychotherapist, therapist, and counselor synonymously, they are not technically the same. First of all, the words ‘therapist’ and ‘counselor’ are not legally protected titles. In other words, anyone can attribute the title of counselor or therapist to their specialty.
Psychotherapist, on the other hand, is a legally protected title. In order to become a psychotherapist, professionals must complete all of the necessary educational, clinical, and licensure requirements. Most mental health counselors and therapists are able to call themselves psychotherapists, as are psychologists.
Further setting therapists and counselors apart under the category of psychotherapist are their focus specialties, training, and educational requirements. Due to the different fields of mental health professionals, there are also unique focus areas where some counselors and therapists complete specialized training to become experts in their field, such as grief and trauma counseling.
Types of Psychotherapists
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) can become licensed with a master’s degree in social work and two years of post-graduation clinical supervision, and must pass a licensing examination. LCSWs are capable of diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Their general approach is to help patients by focusing on how the connections between psychological and social factors influence mental health.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LHMC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) can become licensed with a master’s degree and two years of post-graduation supervised experience and are also capable of diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Their training differs from that of a LCSW or Psychologist based on their field of focus. For example, an LMFT will typically have a masters degree with training that has major emphasis on marriage and family therapy.
Psychologists often obtain a doctorate degree like a Ph.D. or PsyD. They also must pass a national licensing exam in addition to becoming licensed by their state, both of which require a substantial number of hours of supervised clinical practice. Psychologists differ from other mental health professionals because of their additional educational and training requirements. Psychologists also are more likely to perform research in the mental health field.
On Choosing Counselors in Boca Raton
Understanding the differences between mental health professionals is only one small part of choosing between therapists and counselors in Boca Raton. Fortunately, deciding to seek professional help in the first place is the most important decision. Rather than focusing on titles, try looking for someone who you feel comfortable with that is experienced with your individual needs. Of course, you can always reach out and speak with a Boca Raton therapist by contacting Morgan Center as well.