MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSION
Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist vs. Clinical Social Work vs. LCPC:
The typical family doctor / primary care physician does not specialize in mental health. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in mental health and prescribes psychotropic medication. Although a psychiatrist is more than qualified to offer psychotherapy, insurance companies usually do not allow it because of the cost. Once medication is working, follow-up visits with a psychiatrist can be as few as once every three months. Your insurance company requires follow-up appointments to monitor the usefulness and effects of the medication.
A psychologist has earned a PhD. and some offer certain testing, such as the evaluation of special needs. A license certified social worker- clinical (LCSW-C) and licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) must obtain a graduate degree. All three types of mental health providers must pass state exams to be credentialed and all offer psychotherapy as treatment. As a therapist, the only differences between the three are based on the individual style, personality, training and life experience. As in all professions, there are “good,” “mediocre,” and “bad” ones.