Understanding Different Types of Therapists and Their Specializations

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A common misconception is that therapy is for the weak. It takes courage to open up about your life and face your fears.

Finding a therapist with methods that fit your needs is more important than worrying about the letters behind their name. Here’s an overview of the different types of therapists and their specializations.

Types of Therapists

There are many types of therapists. Some have letters after their names, and that’s important to know, but the most significant factor in choosing a therapist is their experience with your type of counseling.

You should also consider the approach and style of your therapist. Therapists have a variety of techniques to help people address different problems and concerns, so you must find someone who fits you well.

Some therapists Seattle specialize in specific areas, like couples therapy or trauma. Others have a specialty within a type of therapy, like cognitive behavioral or psychodynamic therapy.

Some therapists have a PhD in psychology, and they are called psychologists. Psychologists are scientists and clinicians who can test for and diagnose most mental health disorders. Others have a PsyD, which is a doctorate in psychology that emphasizes clinical work.

Psychologists

While the difference between psychologists and counselors is clear, many people need help differentiating between different types of therapists. Unlike psychiatrists who can prescribe medication, psychologists have advanced degrees, and their approaches are often informed by psychological research.

Psychologists with PhDs spend more time in the lab doing testing and research, while PsyDs focus on clinical work and spend less time studying the academic literature. Both can test and diagnose most mental health disorders, though their approaches may vary.

A common area of specialization is health psychology, which looks at how biology, behavior and social factors influence health and illness. These professionals help patients develop healthier lifestyles and cope with chronic pain or illness. They also collaborate with medical professionals to educate them on recognizing emotional issues that might be confused with physical symptoms. They may also work with athletes and business executives to reduce stress and improve performance.

Psychiatrists

Many people are confused about the different types of therapists. Whether counseling, couples therapy or psychotherapy, most master’s-level health care professionals learn therapeutic techniques to help their clients cope with stress and mental concerns.

Psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medication and can use various forms of psychotherapy, including multiple psychotherapies that treat patients as groups or families. During sessions, psychiatrists and their patients discuss troubling feelings, thoughts and behaviors and work together to find solutions.

While some people may think that going to therapy is only for crazy people, the truth is that anyone can benefit from outside feedback and support during life’s obstacles. Many people see a therapist because they need help navigating life changes or need to improve their habits. Generally, insurance providers will approve a set number of sessions for chronic mental health conditions. This can be a motivating factor for patients to seek treatment. In addition, a therapist can provide an accurate diagnosis, which is crucial to getting the right medical treatment.

Counselors

If you stub your toe, you’re more likely to visit an orthopedic specialist than a general practitioner. The same is true of therapists — and knowing the different types of therapists and their specializations can help you find one who fits your personality and goals.

Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) typically have master’s degrees and complete extensive education and training before they become certified in their field. These therapists may focus on individual, couples or family therapy.

Other therapists may specialize in creative or expressive therapies like music, art and drama. Cognitive therapy helps people identify, question and change poor mental images of themselves, which can influence attitudes, responses and emotions.

Ultimately, it’s less important that a therapist holds a certain type of credential or has a specific method of therapy and more important that you find someone who connects with you and can help you address your issues. Use databases like the ones offered by your insurance provider or Two Chairs to review therapists’ bios, qualifications and experience before you make a decision.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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8 months ago

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