Anyone from the mental health field?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Anyone from the mental health field?
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 5:40pm
or anyone have knowledge about it? I want to start therapy due to the stress I have been under in the last year--it's been a pretty bad year. The issues are with mostly my husband and dealing with his health & depression, also we have a few issues dealing with my parents. So he is in the military & getting the mental health help he needs & is on antidepressants. He picked up the list of mental health people our insurance covers. You have to choose between a clinical psychiatric nurse specialist, licensed clinical social worker, marriage & family therapist, mental health counselor, psychiatrist & psychologist.

So after looking over this list I feel even more confused! I have been in therapy before (10+ years ago), but went to someplace that charges on a sliding scale for income & I don't even know what those kind of counselors were.


VickiSiggy.jpg picture by mamalahk

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 6:11pm
Just a couple things to consider-a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe antidepressents. A psychologist or family counselor does not (usually) prescribe meds. We went to a family therapist a few years ago, when I was adopting dd. It was very helpful to talk to someone. You could start with a psychologist or family counselor/therapist and if you feel like you need *more*, move on to a psychiatrist later.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes it takes more than one try to get a good *fit*. If you go to a counselor and dont like them, find someone you DO like. Dont give up or think its *you*-they are just people too and sometimes its difficult to mesh. We went to a couple different places before we found a counselor we liked as a family.

Good luck and hang in there!!!



"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 6:47pm
I'm not in the field, but I know it well, LOL.

OK, DJ outlined the different categories. You need a psychiatrist for anti-depressants, but I wouldn't go to one, anyway. If you see a licensed social worker or psychologist, he or she can hook you up with a psychiatrist for the meds. For actual therapy, I'd go with one of those: a lsw or a psychologist.

Above all, I recommend that you try to find someone who has a forward-thinking approach to therapy. You want to talk about how to handle your life right now and in the future, not about what happened when you were toilet-training at age 2. You know? My psychologist does cognitive dialectical therapy, which is basically asking questions to try to get me to think in more productive ways. I think it makes a big difference.

We talk about very concrete things. It's not, "I'm depressed and sad," but rather, "My evil MIL is coming for Christmas. How do I cope?"

So what works best for me is a focus on the future/present, and concrete, specific advice. And DJ is right -- you might not like the first therapist you meet. It's OK to shop around a little.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2003
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 6:57pm


I'm not in the field either, but have been under the care of a mental health clinic off and on for 3 years.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 7:32pm

I hate this stuff.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 01-09-2004 - 11:00pm
I'd go with the LCSW,personally.IMO,they are helpful because they really know resources as well as counseling and social workers focus on the environment,not just the person or the illness .Mental health counselor and psychologist are kind of broad terms,and covers a lot of job descriptions.It sounds like a lot of the issues are environmental,and I think a good LCSW could give some concrete suggestions-respite care,support groups,brainstorming and playacting ways of dealing with sensitive issues firmly.Good luck!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2003
Sat, 01-10-2004 - 6:20pm
"I hate this stuff. But let me tell you I have been there. Tricare Prime has one of the best mental health insurance plans I have ever seen, though. So be thankful. I went to counseling for years trying to deal with everything with DHs depression and PTSD, and the truth is, I could really use going again, but there is just no way we can afford it without me having insurance. :-(


Wow, I never even thought of me seeing someone to help deal with DH's PTSD. Its been a huge strain and I never thought I might need help as well.

I agree that if you can, go to a clinic that has everything under one roof. And just like finding a doctor, you may have to see more than one to find a good "fit".

I hope you find the help you need!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 01-13-2004 - 7:40pm
Thank you everyone for answering--your input really helped!


VickiSiggy.jpg picture by mamalahk