MH Titles - what's the difference?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
MH Titles - what's the difference?
Wed, 05-09-2007 - 3:34am
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD or DO) who has completed specialized training in treating people with psychiatric disorders, including training in prescribing psychopharmacological medications. In the present medical situation in the US, with the restrictions of insurance companies, most psychiatrists see patients only to prescribe and monitor medications.

"Counselors" or "therapists" have a wide variety of training and educational requirements and licensures. A few only have a BA/BS degree, but are not licensed. Licensed counselors and therapists must have a minimum of a Masters degree, such as a MSW, an MA or MS, to become licensed. Psychologists often work in psychotherapy as well, and have a doctorate (PhD or PsyD) in clinical psychology as well as a license to practice. In a few states, psychologists who have specialized coursework in psychopharmacology can prescribe psychiatric medications under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Therapists and counselors work with people to help them to learn strategies to deal with their dysfunctional moods, behaviors, and thoughts. Many work in association with psychiatrists who prescribe medications.

Both therapists/counselors and psychiatrists work with people who have difficulties in their functioning due to mental disorders, dysfunctional behaviors, intrusive thoughts, and other such problems. Psychiatrists tend only to see people who are more severely impaired, who need to take medications to deal with their disorders. Therapists and counselors can see people with relationship issues, family problems, and behavioral issues who do not need medications as well as more serious mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

**Also see Your Therapist's Title Must-Haves

"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"