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Understanding Therapist Licensures


Understanding different acronyms in therapy can be confusing, even more so when you are looking to understand the different licensures and what they can provide for you. While I can provide a general overview, it's important to note that specific details and titles may vary based on your location. Here are some common therapist licensures:


  1. Psychologist: Psychologists typically hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology and are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They often provide therapy, conduct psychological assessments, and engage in research.

  2. Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D. or D.O.) who specialize in mental health. They can diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medication, and provide therapy. Psychiatrists often work in collaboration with other mental health professionals.

  3. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): LCSWs have a master's degree in social work and are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They often provide therapy, counseling, and case management services, and they may work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practice.

  4. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): LPCs have a master's degree in counseling or a related field and are licensed to provide counseling and therapy. They work with individuals, couples, families, or groups to address mental health concerns, often working in clinical settings or private practice.

  5. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT): LMFTs or MFTs have a master's degree in marriage and family therapy and specialize in working with couples and families. They are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health disorders within the context of relationships and family systems. They focus on improving communication, resolving conflicts, and enhancing family dynamics.

  6. Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): LMHCs have a master's degree in counseling or a related field and are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They provide counseling and therapy to individuals, often specializing in specific populations or modalities.

  7. Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA): LPAs have a mater's degree in psychology. This licensure allows individuals to practice psychology under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, providing services such as psychological assessments, therapy, and counseling.


These are just a few common licensures you may come across when searching for a mental health provider. All of the previously listed titles are able to provide therapy. However, if you are looking for something more specific, understanding the different licensures can help you determine who will be able to provide the service you are needing. And don't forget- you can always ask!



Brianna Dennis-McCrory



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