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A Psychologist is a professional who specializes in observing and interpreting how we think, behave and feel from a research-based scientific point of view. A Psychologist uses this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their mental process, thus allowing them to treat mental illnesses and behavioral problems. A Psychologist can help people struggling with emotional difficulties, life challenges, or psychological disorders. By assisting you effectively, a Psychologist helps sort out your difficult thoughts and teach you coping mechanisms, help you keep a clear mind, and manage stress, anxiety, or any other mental problems you face. Seeing a Psychologist can be that one big step you take towards turning your life for the better. They can help you get the most out of your life and keep you away from symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses.

Psychologists typically complete four to five years of an undergraduate degree plus a doctorate degree of four to seven years of graduate school. A Psychologist’s credentials may vary depending on their specialization, such as addiction counselor, social worker or mental health counselor, etc.

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine devoted to diagnosing, preventing, studying, and treating mental health disorders. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor that is an expert on how our mind and body work and affect each other. People often confuse Psychologists with Psychiatrists, but they are not the same. A Psychologist focuses on talk therapy as the primary form of treatment, while a Psychiatrist is a trained medical doctor, and only a Psychiatrist can prescribe you medications. If your condition is very serious and does not allow you to benefit from therapy alone, a combination of psychotherapy and psychiatry can help you most effectively. A Psychiatrist helps deal with severe mental conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, addictions, etc., with the help of medicine and lifestyle changes.

Psychiatrists need a medical license as they mostly deal with medications. First, they complete four years of college, then four years of medical school, then go through four years of psychiatric residency, and it can take up to twelve years to become a Psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are referred to as MD (Medical Doctors) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).

LCSW stands for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. These professionals offer their services in various settings and provide emotional support, case management services, and mental health evaluations to people experiencing psychological, medical, social, emotional, or familial changes. Both psychologists and LCSWs have clients that are going through behavioral disorders, mental illnesses, or personal problems. LCSWs help you solve your issues by paying close attention to not only counseling but your natural strengths and how you can use them in your life to attain quick and tangible results. They also observe the cultural and socioeconomic influences that have an impact on the well-being of a person. In comparison to psychotherapy, LCSWs help their clients benefit from additional resources such as collaborating with a psychologist or other medical professionals to improve outcomes. In this way, social workers can help you primarily with counseling, and if the need arises, they can use the help of other professionals to get you your best results.

To become a licensed professional, LCSWs must first complete a bachelor’s degree of four years and hold a minimum of a Master’s degree of two years in social work (MSW). Depending on their specialty area, they may be required to have a minimum of 3000 hours of post-MSW in clinical settings to obtain their license.

Play therapy is a form of therapy primarily used for children. Adults can often misinterpret or completely miss a child’s verbal and non-verbal cues. A Play Therapist is skillfully trained at observing children and deciphering their behaviors to find information about them. As children don’t know how to process and express their own emotions, a Play Therapist uses ordinary playtime to observe a child and gain insights into their behaviors and problems. Play therapy offers children to be in a comfortable environment and expresses themselves without any fears or restrictions. A Play Therapist uses this medium of play to observe a child’s thoughts and feelings and teach them new coping mechanisms and redirect inappropriate behaviors in a way that’s easy for children to follow. A Play Therapist can help children take more responsibility for their behaviors, develop problem-solving skills, improve self-esteem, alleviate anxiety, learn how to experience and express their feelings and form stronger social and family bonds, and much more. A Play Therapist allows children to take back control over their lives and resolve whatever is causing them distress. All of this is done at a child’s own pace through a medium that is natural, familiar, and comfortable.

Play Therapists can spend six to twelve years in school. Being a Play Therapist requires a bachelor’s degree in psychology or early childhood studies. After that, Play Therapists must have two years or 2000 hours of supervised clinical mental health experience to obtain their license.

Marriage or family therapy is a psychotherapy branch that works with families or couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. In marriage and family therapy, the focus of treatment is not just on the individual, preferably the set of relationships in which a person is embedded. A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is trained to deal specifically with the problems that arise in individuals, families, couples, and group settings. Premarital counseling, parent-child relationships, divorce or separation, romantic partners, or personal relationships are the strong suits of Marriage and Family Therapists. What makes these therapists different is that in addition to solving mental health issues, they focus more on how family dynamics and your relationships affect your mental health. People whose main stressors in life stem from their relationships with families or partners can learn how to improve their interpersonal communications and improve the dynamic of their relationships to lead a healthy life.

To become a Marriage and Family Therapist, you first attain a bachelor’s degree in psychology and spend two to three years obtaining the master’s MFT or a similar degree in the area you specialize in.

LPC stands for Licensed Professional Counselor, and LMHC stands for Licensed Mental Health Counselor. These are two different terms used for the same occupation in the mental health field. These counselors may or may not deal with mental health conditions and can help their clients with their knowledge and expertise relating to a specific area. While anyone can become an expert on a subject, LPC/LMHC are licensed professionals that possess a high degree of professionalism, confidentiality, knowledge, and ethical standards. These professionals use their novel approaches and can even develop therapies they find to be effective to help you with your specific goals, but it has to fall under the ethnic guidelines and legal standards for counseling for the state they are practicing in. They help refine and change your decision-making process to help you achieve your goals.

LCP/LMHC can take three to five years to complete graduate school, participate in internships and supervised hours, and attain their license. These years can vary depending on the area you are practicing in. These professionals can be spiritual advisors, financial advisors, business advisors, counselors helping you go through trauma, etc., with an individualized approach.

Apps that promote  Mental Wellness

Liberate Meditation
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Mindfulness Coach App

Legal Disclaimer

Information presented on the Enlighten Me page is not intended to or should serve as a substitute for medical advice or diagnoses. This information has not been verified and is to be used solely as a resource. We urge consumers to seek services with a licensed mental health provider and continue to seek the advice of a mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.