Choosing a Therapist
Psychiatric Center (Daytona Beach,
The first major hurdle
is over and you've decided that it is time to get some professional help.
You look in the phone book under "Counseling" and instantly become confused
by the different titles you see listed for counselors. The therapist's
specialty is often stated in the advertisement. So where do you begin to
find the right therapist for you. The following is an explanation of the
primary titles that counselor’s use and a brief description of the scope of
will have M.D. after the name. These physicians receive the basic
training required of any physician. After this initial training, there is
specialized course work followed by a period of residency in psychiatry. The
educational background of psychiatrists provides the basis for
identification of biochemical factors that cause emotional difficulties.
Psychiatrists are the only "counseling" discipline who can prescribe
medications as a result of their licensure.
have Ph.D. after their names. Clinical psychologists complete a
lengthy internship in a clinical setting. Members of this discipline
emphasize the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of individuals in
psychological distress. Interventions used to help an individual include
individual, group, marriage and family therapy.
will display M.S.W. after their names. The persons have completed a
Masters degree in Social Work. These clinicians focus on individuals,
families or groups in social, work or communities. Members of this
discipline are trained to deal with life crises, developmental problems and
emotional problems that arise in social situations. LC.S. W. after a
social workers name stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. These
individuals have completed a substantial number of hours in the clinical
area under the supervision of a licensed therapist and passed a written
LM.H.C, are individuals who have completed a program with course work
leading to a Masters degree. The emphasis of these types of programs is on
working toward mental wellness and diagnosis of mental illness. Programs
also prepare the practitioner to perform personality testing under the
supervision of a clinical psychologist. Eligibility for licensure also
requires a substantial number of supervised clinical hours completed under a
licensed therapist and a written exam passed.
Another closely related
counseling discipline that is commonly found in the phone book is that of
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, L.M.F.T. As the name implies,
the focus of this discipline is marriage and family therapy. These
therapists have also completed a Master's degree program and have obtained
licensure after completing the clinical hours under a licensed therapist and
passing the written exam. .
The final discipline of
therapists commonly seen in private practice is that of the Advanced
Registered Nurse Practitioner, A.R.N.P. The nurses who work in
psychiatry have a Master's degree in Psychiatric Nursing. In the State of
Florida an A.R.N.P. can write prescriptions if they have the proper course
work in preparation and are under the direction of a psychiatrist.
In order to choose a
therapist, a person must decide what the problem is and what is to be
accomplished in therapy. The focus of many disciplines is similar. The most
important thing in finding a therapist is establishing a trust relationship
and being comfortable to work on problems.