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What types of mental health counselors and therapists are there?

I want to be a therapist and help people with their mental health. I'm good at communicating and I'm emotionally intelligent.
mental-health-counseling mental-health public-health hospital-and-health-care health mental-health

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Stephanie L.’s Answer

I have a degree in social work and with the proper license this degree allows one to provide counseling. You can get a PhD as well. There are therapists in all types. There are therapists in schools, in businesses, hospitals, government, armed services in just about everything you can think of. It is good to try to pin point what population you want to work with adults vs kids, adolescents vs elderly. Do you want to focus on a special area, bereavement, family counseling, chronic illness. There is so much out there especially in times like these.
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Brian’s Answer

There are a variety of professions which are often referred to as "therapists" including:

- Clinical Psychologists
- Counseling Psychologists
- Social Workers
- Mental Health Counselors
- Substance Abuse Counselors
- School Counselors
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Art Therapists
- Music Therapists

The requirements vary among the different fields, as do the perspectives assumed and the scope of practice. In most states, licensure also requires practice under supervision for a period of time (often 2 years) before you'll become eligible for independent practice.

Within these different fields, people often sub-specialize. For example, you may work with a specific population (geriatrics, pediatrics, LGBTQ, couples, families), a therapeutic technique (Gestalt, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Logotherapy...), or a clinical issue (personality disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders). Although people specialize, they can work in other environments and with other populations.
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Elisabeth’s Answer

I have degrees in clinical counseling and social work. These degrees allow me to seek licensing as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Master of Social Work, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
My counseling program centered on diagnosis and treatment. Social work focused on social justice and leadership ( I was in the clinical and the PLCO tracks (PLCO focuses on leading organizations ). Social work schools vary in their focus on developing clinical skills so that is something to research when looking at schools and programs.
Medicare does not recognize LPCs and LMHCs for payment. LCSWs are recognized by Medicare and seem to have the most flexibility billing in primary care. PhDs in Clinical Psychology and PsyDs are recognized by Medicare but I've heard them express frustration around billing in primary care. Most master-level psychologists are licensed as LPCs/LMHCs-at least in Oregon and Washington.
Substance abuse counselors may have different tracks. For example, in OR counselors with an AA/AS or BA/BS may be certified to provide substance use treatment.

Elisabeth recommends the following next steps:

Research various schools and programs to decide if counseling, psychology, or social work is a better fit for you
Join a social networking group to explore programs others have completed and recommend