Licensed professional counselors and therapists provide mental health services, but they differ in education and training. A therapist usually holds a master’s degree or higher in counseling, which is not always the case with a mental health counselor. In addition, licensing requirements vary from state to state regarding who can use these titles, what credentials they must hold, and how much experience they need.
Counselors provide treatment through talk therapy – listening to patients express their feelings about their lives – while therapists employ a variety of techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). When you are in need of mental health services, it’s important to know which type of professional to visit.
The Difference Between Counselors and Therapists
When we think about mental health, it’s common to think of therapists as providers who take care of people emotionally. However, in some states, counselors do the same jobs as therapists. There are many different types of mental health professions. The term “mental health professional” covers a wide range of people who work in occupations such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and other mental health therapists. When you need help with a mental health issue or addiction, a counselor can help you in many ways. If there are services you need beyond a counselor’s jurisdiction, they can refer you to a psychotherapist.
The Career Differences
The term counselor is often used to describe a person working in the field of mental health. The reality is that there are a variety of counseling jobs available with a lot more variety within these job titles than most people realize. The term therapist has come to refer almost exclusively to two different groups: psychotherapists or clinical social workers. Regardless of the career path, counselors and therapists are qualified to assist with all sorts of mental health issues. While their treatment approaches may differ, you can benefit greatly from seeing either of them.
The Theoretical Similarities
Counselors, psychotherapists, and clinical social workers all provide what is called “talk therapy.” A therapist or counselor typically does not prescribe medication, and instead, they try to help the patient talk about their issues, so they can better understand themselves. The therapist or counselor listens, asks questions, and provides feedback in an effort to help the client see their problems from a different perspective. The ultimate goal of this process is for the client to identify achievable changes that will improve their quality of life.
The term counseling has come to represent all mental health professions that don’t involve prescribing medications as part of treatment. Counseling includes activities such as marital counseling, career counseling, school-related problems, drug abuse, and addiction, as well as grief and loss counseling or interventions.
Epic Health Partners in Danville, Martinsville, and Richmond, VA
Epic Health Partners, LLC is a community-based behavioral health services provider for those in need of mental assessments and services. We serve both adults and children. Our programs provide care and support that enable individuals to reach and maintain stability and independence in the most appropriate, least restrictive environment.
Call us at (434) 835-4601 or set up an appointment online. We look forward to serving you.