How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

If you are considering a career as a mental health professional, it can be exciting (and potentially overwhelming) to learn of the many job titles and career paths available to pursue. While the variety of jobs increases your chances of aligning your career and interests, understanding the differences among available roles can make choosing the “right” path a daunting task.

Three of the most common job titles in the mental health industry are counselor, therapist, and psychologist. But what is the difference between these job titles? Are counselors, therapists, and psychologists really that different from one another, or are they more similar than different?

While there is overlap between these three careers, there are specific differences which you should understand before embarking on a career in the field. Here, we explore those differences.

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What is a counselor?

The term counselor is used to broadly refer to a professional trained in the fields of psychology, counseling, social work, or a range of medical fields such as nursing. Mental health counselors , specifically, are those professionals working in a mental health capacity.

Mental health counselors perform many functions and responsibilities. Their duties include conducting patient evaluations, providing education and informational resources to their clients, and making suggestions that the client or patient can use to solve the problem they are seeking counseling to address. Often, mental health counselors will specialize in addressing a particular issue, such as substance abuse, sexual abuse, marriage and relationships, or family counseling, among others.

What is a therapist?

A therapist is an individual that has been professionally trained to provide some form of therapy to a patient or client that addresses either mental or physical disorder. Examples of therapy used in the context of physical medicine can include physical therapists and occupational therapists. In the context of mental health, the terms mental health therapist and psychotherapist are common.

As with counselors, therapists will often specialize in addressing particular client issues, such as marriage and family issues, substance abuse, etc.

The Difference Between Therapists and Counselors

If the two definitions above sound very similar, it’s because they are. Mental health counselors and therapists occupy the same professional space, treating the same issues within the same patient populations. Even within the industry, you can find the terms used interchangeably in some contexts.

However, the key difference between counselors and therapists lies in the approach to treatment that they take.

A s a practice, counseling often addresses specific problems, challenges, or behaviors in a patient’s life in a very practical way. A counselor working with a patient who suffers from anxiety might, for example, provide the patient with different tactics that they can use to ward off a pending panic attack. Or they might give an alcoholic patient a set series of steps to follow when they feel a craving coming on. In this regard, there is a certain problem-solving approach inherent in counseling.

Therapists work to help their patients address similar issues, and often provide the same advice that counselors might. However, a key difference is that therapists often seek to go deeper by helping the patient understand the how and why behind a challenge. For example, what scenarios tend to bring on an alcoholic craving and why; what situations are more likely to trigger a panic attack and why? What is the root of these issues? They seek to identify the source of these issues through a combination of talk therapy and other frameworks.

As such, counseling is often (though not always) a short-term approach, arming the patient with tools they can put into action immediately to begin living a more healthy life. Therapy, on the other hand, is often a longer-term process that can last months or even years as the therapist and client seek out the root of the issues being addressed to make lasting change.

Despite these differences, there is significant overlap between therapists and counselors, and they will often borrow from each other’s playbook. Additionally, both therapists and counselors will typically be master’s level clinicians licensed by the state in which they practice. A Master of Science in Counseling Psychology is a commonly held degree, and common licenses include Licenced Mental Health Counselors (LHMCs) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) may also hold the title of counselor or therapist.

What is a psychologist?

Another common job title within mental health counseling is that of a psychologist. Whereas therapists and counselors may be considered more alike than different, the difference is more pronounced for psychologists.

A psychologist is similar to mental health counselors and therapists in that they also work to improve their patients’ mental and emotional health. The techniques and frameworks that they use tend to differ, however. Additionally, psychologists are more likely than counselors to treat patients with severe mental disorders. With this in mind, becoming a counseling psychologist will typically require a higher level of education, such as earning a PhD in Counseling Psychology .

Choosing The Right Career For Your Future

If you’re considering entering the mental health field, it’s important to understand the various available job functions so you can choose a career path that aligns with your interests and goals. While there are many different variations of the titles discussed above, the most common will be counselor, therapist, and psychologist. Though these are related in many ways, the differences are also significant and can substantially change the trajectory of your career.

Jumpstart your career today by learning more about the skills and experience needed to succeed in counseling psychology.

How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

Finding a mental health counselor or therapist can be difficult, especially if you have never been through therapy before and do not know where to start. You will need to consider what type of therapist you should see, what your needs are, and whether or not the therapist will accept your insurance. The first meeting that you have with your therapist can also be an opportunity to ask questions and see if you feel comfortable talking to the therapist. As you conduct your search, keep in mind that you might have to try out a few therapists to find one who makes you feel comfortable.

Finding a Therapist

Determine your needs. Identifying your needs can help you to choose a therapist who has experience working with clients with similar needs. Before you start looking for a therapist, think about why you want to start therapy. You can ask yourself some questions to begin to describe the problem.

  • Some questions to ask yourself may include: What symptoms have you been having How long has the problem been going on? What areas of your life is your problem affecting social, family, friendships, work, school, romantic relationships, etc. How severe is the problem Talk out your answers to these questions with a trustworthy friend or family member, or write out your answers to help you identify your priorities for therapy?

How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

    • Psychiatrists (M.D., D.O) are medical doctors that specialize in mental health. They can diagnose and treat mental health problems with medications. Keep in mind that while seeking medication may be helpful as an obsessive-compulsive solution to your emotional issues, keep in mind that medication alone will not be enough. You will also need to seek talk therapy from a psychologist or counselor.
      • Psychological services (Ph.D., Psy. D, Ed D.) have a doctoral degree in psychology and may treat or specialize in a number of mental health problems. They are often not able to prescribe medicine unless specially licensed or they work with another provider.
      • Online clinical Psychologist (P.A.–C) work under the supervision of a psychiatrist or psychologist. A Statement Analysis who specializes in psychiatry and who works under the supervision of a psychiatrist may have the ability to diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medicine, and provide psychotherapy.

      Learn about different therapeutic approaches.

          • Not all therapists use the same methods with their clients. One professional might choose a specific approach over another based on evidence that one approach produces better results for the client’s problem. If you have a preference for a specific type of therapy based on a past experience, then you may want to seek therapists who use these methods.
          • Some therapists may even list their preferred approaches on an online profile. However, most therapists use a variety of different approaches, which can be beneficial if you are not sure what is wrong. Approaches may include psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. This approach helps you to uncover subconscious motivations for your behavior and to change your behavior, thoughts, and feelings.

          Talk to friends and family. Friends and family members who are in therapy may be able to help you find a good therapist. If you know that a friend or family member sees a therapist, then you might consider asking how he or she likes the therapist.

          If your friend or a family member has good things to say, then this therapist might be someone to consider. Read online profiles and other information about the therapist. Some therapists provide information about their specializations on the internet. Check to see if the therapists you are considering specialize in any of the areas for which you are seeking help.

              • For example, you may be able to find out whether or not a therapist is willing to work with people who have addiction problems, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Choose a therapist you can afford. Therapists charge different prices for their time. Make sure that you know their prices and whether or not they take your insurance.
              • Call the therapist’s office to find out their prices and whether or not they take insurance. Make sure that you know whether or not you can afford their prices before you meet with them.
              • Find out what therapists are part of your health insurance network. You will want to find out if your therapist takes your insurance before you choose a therapist or come for your first visit.
              • Know that if you want to visit a therapist outside of your network, it may be more expensive. Consider the potential cost of a therapist outside of your network as opposed to those approved by your insurance. Consider practicalities when choosing your therapist. Make sure your therapist is easily available, close by, and can be contacted without much difficulty. If these are not options, it may be useful to try online therapy.
              • Choose a therapist that nearby. This may be a problem if you live in a rural area, but try to find someone that you can visit without too much difficulty.
              • Make sure your therapist is accessible. You want to be able to contact when you need to make an appointment or need emergency help.
              • Contact with your therapist with an inquiry. Explain to them what you’re looking for and ask if they are taking new patients.
              • Schedule a consultation with your therapist so you can meet with them in person.
              • Consider online therapy if you cannot easily access a therapist or if your schedule will not permit an in-person therapist. Make sure your online therapist is qualified and holds the same accreditations as an in-person counselor.

              Going to Your First Appointment

              Describe the feelings and issues that you want to work on. During your first appointment, the therapist will probably ask you to explain why you are seeking therapy. This is your opportunity to provide an overview of how you have been feeling and what problems you have been encountering.

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              • You may want to think about how you will express these things before you go since it might be a little overwhelming to describe it all on the spot.
              • In your own words, just try to describe how you have been feeling and acting. How long has it lasted? Why does it bother you? What do you hope to accomplish through therapy

              Set goals with your therapist. Talk therapy is an effective treatment for many different types of mental health issues, but it takes time and persistence. You and your therapist can set goals and develop a plan for achieving those goals.

              The terms counselor and therapist cover a variety of trained professionals. The differences between therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors may not be as important to you as finding someone with whom you are comfortable.

              Professionals who might provide counseling services include:

              • Social workers (MSW, ACSW).
              • Psychologists (PhD).
              • Licensed professional counselors (LPC) (MA, MEd, EdD).
              • Psychiatrists (MD).
              • Marriage and family therapists (MFT).
              • Psychiatric nurses (BSN, MSN).
              • Members of the clergy.

              Some insurance plans do not cover all types of therapists. Check with your insurance company for details.

              When calling to make an appointment

              • If possible (or if you have questions), ask to speak with the therapist or counselor directly, not with a receptionist or assistant.
              • Be clear about the problem for which you want help.
              • Ask the therapist or counselor about his or her background with your problem (how many people he or she has worked with on this type of problem). Ask the therapist to explain his or her views about the problem.
              • Ask how long the counseling might take, so that you can picture how it will fit into your life.
              • Ask any other questions that would make you more comfortable with the idea of attending a session.

              If you go to a therapist and don’t like what happens, don’t give up on the idea of counseling. Sometimes a different counselor will fit your personality better. Try again with someone new.

              Related Information


              Current as of: June 16, 2021

              Author: Healthwise Staff
              Medical Review:
              Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine
              Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

              Current as of: June 16, 2021

              Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

              Topic Contents

              Current as of: June 16, 2021

              Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

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              The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Every year, millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues ranging from stress and depression to hallucinations and delusions. About half never pursue treatment. Mental health care really does work. Even if your symptoms are severe, the right provider can equip you with the tools you need to get — and stay — psychologically healthy.

              It's easy to be confused by the dizzying array of acronyms you're sure to encounter, not to mention promises from every provider you meet to improve your life and health. So how to choose? Follow these simple steps.

              Options for Therapy

              Though many people with a mental health condition want to get a prescription, take a pill, and move on with their lives, research consistently demonstrates that a blend of therapy and medication is significantly more effective than either treatment on its own. If you are struggling with serious depression, crippling anxiety, or overwhelming compulsions, consider therapy as an adjunct to medication.

              Therapy also works well for the mundane concerns of everyday life: transitioning to parenthood, coping with grief, setting goals, managing your workload, and eliminating chronic anger. To qualify as a therapist, a person must complete a master's degree and become licensed as a psychotherapist in the state where he or she practices. Some common terms you may encounter include:

              • Therapist/Counselor: This is a generic term for someone who is licensed to provide mental health care. Ask about his or her training and specific license to get more details.
              • Licensed clinical social worker: This is a therapist who specializes in clinical social work, making him or her an ideal choice for coping with everyday stress, relationship problems, and mental health issues such as depression.
              • Psychologist: A psychologist is a mental health professional who completes a Ph.D. These providers often specialize in specific topics they studied as part of their doctoral dissertation.

              Additionally, many therapists have additional certifications and training. Don't shy away from asking what these certifications mean. Sometimes it's as simple as checking a box on a form and paying a fee, but other certifications take months — or even years — to gain.

              Do You Feel Depressed? Get Help Online Today

              You deserve to be happy. Speak with a Licensed Counselor Online Today – It’s easy and affordable.

              Medication for Mental Health

              Only medical doctors can provide psychoactive medications. Though many people seek medication through their primary care providers, you will get the most accurate and reliable information about medication if you pursue care under a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists specialize in mental health, and must complete psychiatric residencies as part of their medical training, meaning that they have a much deeper knowledge of mental health issues than other doctors.

              Some psychiatrists also offer therapy, which can be an excellent way to save time and get everything you need in one place, but therapy under the supervision of a psychiatrist is only appropriate if that psychiatrist also has training in mental health counseling. Ask him or her about that training before agreeing to therapy.

              Looking for Antidepressants? Speak with an Online Doctor

              Get diagnosed and prescribed medicine by phone, computer or mobile app – anywhere, anytime. Insurance accepted.

              What About Coaching?

              People are increasingly turning to so-called life coaches for assistance with mental health issues. Life coaches offer direct instruction rather than gently guiding you to a better understanding of your mental health. If you need help at work, struggle to make friends, or have some other specific and minor issue for which you need help, coaching could be ideal.

              Proceed with caution before selecting a life coach. Though many organizations have begun accrediting life coaches, in some states anyone can still adopt the label of a life coach. Ask questions about the specific training your coach has, and steer clear of life coaching if you feel suicidal or have chronic, ongoing mental health issues. Some therapists and psychiatrists also now offer life coaching, so if you like the coaching model but want additional help, consider finding a mental health professional who offers both.

              Hallmarks of Effective Mental Health Treatment

              The process of selecting a care provider doesn't end the first day you set foot in his or her office. Therapy is a private undertaking, so there is little oversight, and negligent or bad therapists can practice for years before anyone notices. Being a strong advocate for yourself is vital to getting effective treatment. Some hallmarks of ethical, effective mental health care include:

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              A common phrase among believers says, “God is all we need.” Yet, one way God provides for our needs is through other people. We don’t need to live in isolation, or keep trying to ‘get it right’ or ‘do better next time,’ all alone.

              Every one of us needs someone outside ourselves to see the things we cannot see. We aren’t designed to grow and heal on our own. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us. We also have the gift of receiving wisdom and insight from others, especially those with a unique set of gifts and qualifications geared towards helping people live freer. We can also lean on those who receive from the Holy Spirit.

              By making space for external input, we experience the power of God at work through people.

              Close friends and family may provide helpful feedback, but there are limitations inherent in these relationships. Not everyone close to you will provide honest information when you need to hear the hard things. Nor is what ‘friends and family’ have to share always well-informed. Sometimes, it can be damaging. particularly if addictions, abuse, or mental illness are involved.

              Most of us could benefit from the help of trained individuals who provide broader perspectives and honed insights. But choosing one? It’s not so easy. Some help us pursue goals, experience healing, and receive comfort. Some help us grow personally and spiritually through the guidance of scripture and development of our faith. Many overlap in capabilities and focus.

              How do you choose who to guide you?

              Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Courtney Hale

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Consider Your Needs and Goals

              Begin by considering what your needs and goals might be. It’s okay if you aren’t sure. Talk it out or write down what you’re looking for and why.

              Are you looking to heal from past hurts, move towards a specific life goal, stop living in fear and overwhelmed by anxiety, or start living more as the person God created you to be? What goals do you have for your future, your work, and relationships? What areas of life need a tune-up?

              Keep in mind, you don’t need a crisis to benefit from the help of others. Marital relationships can be enhanced through counseling with two willing people. Family dynamics grow healthier with the trained insights of someone else. Getting help before crises hit builds a stronger foundation for trials ahead.

              Consider Variations in Qualifications

              Regardless of whom you choose for help, quality and compatibility varies. For example, a counselor may or may not be a licensed therapist. Therapists have different trainings and ability to deal with specific issues.

              A person’s role doesn’t indicate what they believe, how they carry out their role, or their ability to shepherd hurting people. In addition, how your personality connects with the personality of another makes a difference in the care you receive. Life coaches, counselors, and therapists will have different training backgrounds, belief systems, and experiences.

              With your needs and goals in mind, keep in mind that no one person will be a perfect fit, and that’s okay. Each person is unique, and their ability to help may be for a season.

              A combination of outside professionals may be helpful. You get to decide. You get to ask questions. You can create a team that helps you address various areas of life.

              Look for referral services to help you get started. I offer a list of Christian counselor options here. Then be ready to ask questions of the person(s) you choose to work with, so you can determine if they have experience with or interest in your needs.

              Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/asiseeit

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Understand the Differences Between Coaches, Counselors, Therapists, and Pastors

              The following are generalized depictions of each role and are not meant to depict all individuals with these titles. Consider this a starting point to help you understand differences in the types of help you can expect.

              Life Coach: A life coach is someone who helps you move forward in life. They help you identify obstacles, including unhealthy beliefs that may keep you from making progress towards a goal. Through guided questions, they help you understand your values so you make choices that move you forward.

              Counselor: The term counsel technically means advice, but not all counselors advise. Quality counselors are likely to ask directed questions that bring awareness to areas in need of healing and change, much like a coach does. They offer support by providing a safe space to share your story and process hard things. In addition, they will work with you to help you find healing for past hurts, identifying destructive belief patterns, and implementing new ways of thinking and living.

              What separates a professional counselor from a life coach is the training that equips them to deal with past hurts interfering with today’s ability to live well.

              Therapist: The term therapist typically refers to someone who is licensed and trained to provide a specific type of therapy. An occupational therapist helps people with skillsets for an occupation. A physical therapist helps people recover physically from an injury or illness.

              When it comes to counseling for personal, emotional, and mental health issues, it’s common to see therapist terms like LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), and LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist). Professional counselors are often referred to as therapists.

              If they are, they usually indicate their areas of specialty on their websites, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Gottman therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, (EMDR), etc.

              A quality therapist considers the interplay between mental, physical, and emotional health. They may or may not include spiritual health or Christian faith.

              Pastor: Like the term counselor, the label pastor means many things to different people. A common understanding of the term is to shepherd (guide, direct, care for) a church family and preach God’s Word. However, there are many different ways a pastor serves across numerous church structures. For example, a church may have several pastors. One does most of the teaching and preaching. Others fulfill other roles such as marriage ministry, singles ministry, youth ministry, etc.

              Explains what talking therapies are, what happens during therapy, how to get the most from therapy and how to find a therapist.

              How can I find a therapist?

              This page explains how to find:

              “For me it took a couple of tries before I found the right therapist that I felt comfortable with.”

              NHS therapists

              Any therapy provided through the NHS should be free of charge. Here are the common routes to access talking therapies through the NHS.

              Your GP

              Your GP might refer you to a suitable service after speaking to you – that service will then get in touch with you. See our page on talking to your GP for guidance on discussing your mental health with them.


              Some areas run services which you can contact directly to refer yourself for a talking therapy. Your GP might give you the number of a service you can call, or you might find one through IAPT.

              Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

              Also known as ‘psychological services (IAPT)’ in some places, this is an NHS programme offering talking therapies for common mental health problems, which you can often refer yourself to without going through your GP. Most areas in England have an IAPT service, but the kinds of therapies available differs from region to region (IAPT is not currently available in Wales). To find IAPT services near you, use the online IAPT service finder on the NHS website.

              “I’d definitely tell anyone who was accessing talking therapies for the first time to be patient and don’t give up! The NHS can be difficult to navigate but it’s worth it in the end.”

              What if there are long waiting lists?

              Unfortunately it’s very common to have to spend time on a waiting list before getting therapy through the NHS. While you’re on a waiting list it might help to:

              • Ask your doctor to give you a contact number to ring to check how long you have to wait.
              • Explore any alternatives to therapy which might help in the meantime.

              Mind is campaigning to make sure that everyone has access to talking therapies when they need them. You can find out more about what we’re doing on our campaign pages and see how you can get involved.

              “It’s been a total rollercoaster for me – I’ve tried many different therapies, often not realising what was going on as the NHS wasn’t clear at explaining things to me. I’ve found bits that worked, bits that didn’t work, and bits that might’ve worked if I’d realised I could change therapists. Now I’m working with a therapist who I really trust and, with her support, my life has dramatically improved.”

              Charity and third sector therapists

              Some community and charity sector organisations may offer free or low-cost talking therapies. For example:

              • Your local Mind, local Rethink Mental Illness, or local Turning Point branch may be able to offer you talking therapies. Sometimes these local organisations may also form part of a local IAPT service with the NHS. offers a telephone counselling service and talking therapies in some areas. offers talking therapies for anxiety. There is a fee but they do offer reduced costs for people on a low income. may offer free counselling services if you have experienced the death of someone close to you. offer counselling to survivors of sexual abuse and sometimes to their families.

              See our page on seeking help through the third sector for more information. Some charities also provide telephone listening and emotional support services. These are not counselling or therapy, but can be helpful if you need to talk to someone in between sessions.

              Therapists at your place of work or education

              • If you’re a student – many colleges and universities have a free counselling service. You can usually access this without going through your academic tutors or GP. (See our pages on coping with student life for more information)
              • If you’re an employee – your workplace might offer an Employee Assistance Programme which might provide a limited number of free therapy sessions. You can usually access this without going through your Manager, HR department or GP. (See our pages on coping with working life for more information)

              Private therapists

              There are many reasons you might consider going private, although it’s not an option for everyone because it can be expensive. If you decide to explore private therapy, it’s a good idea to look for a therapist using the online search function of a reliable website which only lists therapists who are registered with a professional body. For example:

              • the Counselling Directory – for all kinds of counsellors and therapists
              • the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – for all kinds of counsellors and therapists
              • the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) – for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) practitioners
              • the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) – for psychotherapists
              • the British Psychological Society (BPS) – for local therapists – for therapists with LGBTQ+ experience.

              Before committing to paying for therapy it may be helpful to ask:

              • How much do they charge per session?
              • Do they offer a free introductory session to allow you to decide whether you can work together?
              • Do they offer reduced rates for people on low incomes?
              • Do they charge for missed appointments (and if yes, how much notice do you need to give them to avoid being charged)?

              See our page on private sector care for more information on paying for healthcare.

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Choosing the right therapist can be challenging, especially if you don’t know which therapist you should go to. There are many different kinds of therapists that work with children, teenagers, adults, couples, and the like. Depending on what you’re suffering from, such as addiction, grief, or divorce, you can get an appointment with different types of specialists.

              Likewise, each of these therapists has a different type of educational preparation and training they have to complete prior to taking a patient. For instance, counselors may only need an associate’s degree to practice their career, while psychiatrists need a doctoral degree to be able to prescribe medication to their patients.

              Here are three types of therapists and their educational requirements.

              1. School Counselor

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Most schools in the United States have a school counselor to help students achieve their educational goals. Whether that’s improving their grades, paying more attention in class, or participating in more school activities, school counselors can be there for the student when they have no one else to help them through these goals. These types of counselors are required to have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in addition to up to two years of supervised clinical experience.

              School counselors can also help students get an invitation from the National Society of High School Scholars to join their educational programs such as scholarships, webinars, conferences, and discounts on college test preps. A lot of people Google “NSHSS scam” because fraudulent organizations impersonate them and offer students a once-in-a-lifetime experience just like the NSHSS does, however, the NSHSS has published many explanations of how they are the real deal and how your child can join them.

              2. Mental Health Therapist

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Moreover, in the realm of therapists, there exist mental health therapists who dedicate their lives to helping people find inner peace. They do this by assessing the patients’ diagnosis and psychological distress and allowing the patient to communicate their experiences. Mental health therapists are usually called psychologists and psychiatrists and will need extensive education and training before they can treat a patient and even open their own therapy office.

              There are also psychologists that provide intensive therapy for trauma in private mental health retreats for severe mental health cases. These severe cases include PTSD, trauma, child abuse, sexual abuse, anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and low self-esteem. These retreats are a way for patients to recover years of their life in a matter of days rather than decades.

              3. Family Therapist

              How to choose a mental health counselor or psychotherapist

              Lastly, we have family therapists. Family therapists are psychological counselors that help family members improve their communication skills and resolve any issues among them. They evaluate each of the family members and their roles to understand how each of their mental health situations can help in the matter. They will provide a common ground for families who can’t seem to solve their problems and can even become an ongoing source of support for future issues.

              There are various types of family therapies that these professional counselors provide, such as supportive family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic ideas, and systemic family therapy. Each of these types of therapies can help families dealing with the dynamics of a growing family relationship, parenting issues, work stress, couple relationships, trauma, and parenting skills. They also help families deal with chronic illnesses, emotional disorders, eating disorders, emotional abuse, and financial issues.

              Family therapists deal with everyday issues that many families face around the world. However, in order to be able to help them, they need to get the appropriate education and training prior to seeing a patient. For instance, they’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree and a predetermined number of clinical hours in different settings to prove their competency as a therapist.

              I specialize in issues of Christian living , and you are welcome to request that we apply your Christian faith in addressing your concerns. Those who do not wish to include Christianity are equally welcomed into services.

              S ome specific issues I address are listed below . If your concern is not listed, please contact me about the nature of the problem, and I will be happy to provide referrals if your concern would best be approached with another clinician.

              We must meet face-to-face prior to phone sessions for a number of reasons. Once we have agreed that phone counseling is appropriate, we can proceed to a schedule that is more convenient and flexible than office visits. While technology may fail, the weather may preclude safe phone sessions, and the information exchange over the phone is less complete than is that of an office visit, the benefits include the elimination of mobility and transportation barriers, saving your time and cost in travel, and your personal comfort.

              The Profound Path Counselor Services are tailored to provide what you need .

              In Counseling I See:

              • Adults
              • Mature Adolescents, with parental consent

              In Psychotherapy I See:

              • Children 3 years and older (including play therapy)
              • Adolescents
              • Adults

              Formats of Counseling and Psychotherapy Services:

              • Individual sessions
              • Couples sessions
              • Family sessions

              In Mental Health Consultations I See:

              • Adult individuals and couples
              • Christian mental, emotional, relational and spiritual issues

              Mental Health Issues and Areas That I Address Include:

              • abuse (if you/your child was the target)
              • adhd
              • aggression
              • anger
              • anxiety
              • attention problems
              • behavioral problems of children and teens
              • care-giving
              • Christian living
              • confusion
              • coping with change
              • depression
              • divorce/life after divorce
              • faith issues
              • family of origin issues
              • fears
              • grief/loss
              • guilt
              • hyperactivity
              • life meaning/path/purpose
              • marital problems
              • mood swings
              • parent/child conflict
              • relationship problems
              • self-esteem
              • stress
              • thought/decision-making problems
              • work/career issues

              Do I Want Counseling, Psychotherapy, Or a Mental Health Consultation?: How to Choose:

              I provide counseling, psychotherapy and mental health consultations. As you read the description on each page, you will know which type of service best meets your needs. Some people choose a combination of services.

              Go to the Counseling page if your goal is personal growth, fulfillment, or satisfaction with your life. Counseling is suitable for people who want to understand themselves more fully, discover and fulfill their potential, make values-driven life decisions, live each day with clear purpose and meaning, and make successful transitions as their lives change. Counseling is available for adults and mature adolescents (with the consent of parent). The theme of counseling is growth.

              Go to the Psychotherapy page if your goal is to address significant cognitive, mood, or behavior problems that prevent you from functioning adequately. Psychotherapy is suitable for identifying and overcoming unhealthy thoughts, moods and actions. Psychotherapy sessions are available for children three years of age or older, adolescents, and adults. The theme of psychotherapy is relief from distress with a return to adequate functioning.

              Go to the Mental Health Consultations page if your goal is to figure out what to do about a situation, or what to do about the symptoms and behaviors of another person. Because not everyone who has a problem also has a mental health disorder, consultations do not focus on your mental and emotional health. My consultation specialty areas are ADHD, Alzheimers caregiving, and Christian living, although you may choose this option for any problematic behavior or situation. Consultations are available for adults. The theme of consultation is problem-solving.

              Paying for Counselor Services:

              You may pay by cash or check at my office. I accept only private pay clients to uphold your privacy and choice to have the frequency and range of services available in this form of payment. Phone sessions are available for established clients who are Texas residents, and must be prepaid.

              Anxiety disorders can be treated by a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses. Primary care physicians also make frequent diagnoses, and they may prescribe medication or refer a patient to a mental health provider. Find a therapist near you.

              We also encourage you to read this May 2017 “How To Know if Your Therapist is Really Helping You” blog post by ADAA President Karen Cassidy.

              Making Your Choice
              It’s recommended that you talk to more than one professional before making a choice. You might want to consider these issues when deciding on a mental health professional and type of treatment:

              Professional Categories

              • Licensed professional: psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, and other counselor licensed by a state to practice psychotherapy.
              • Non-licensed professional: usually holds a master’s degree and may be unlicensed because the state does not offer or require a license in that mental health field.
              • Layperson specialist: usually someone who has recovered from an anxiety disorder and provides assistance to others.

              Requirements for the practice of psychotherapy vary among states. Ask a therapist about his or her training and credentials before beginning treatment.

              Other Options
              If you are unable to find a treatment provider through this website, you have other options: