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How to Select a Therapist?

One will come across a lot of different degrees and titles when one starts looking for psychological services. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), or Marriage, Family, and Child Counselors (MFCC) are some of the titles you will see.

Selecting a professional that is most qualified to provide the best services that you need can be a very confusing task. All these professionals have different education and training which equips them to provide specific services. For example, it may serve you better to see a Psychologist or a Marriage and Family Therapist depending upon your needs and unique situation.

Also, keep in mind that the term "therapist" is a title that is not associated with any particular training or education. A lot of different health professionals refer to themselves as a Therapist. However, remember that only people with appropriate education, training and licensure can refer to themselves as psychologists.

We have listed below the main differences among mental health professions and hope that this information will help you choose the best professional based on your needs. Please feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions


In order to become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (LCP), you need to have a doctorate, either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. degree. LCPs do a lot of mental health assessments from diagnosing depression, identifying a personality disorder, or diagnosing learning disabilities. In addition to being highly trained as therapists, Psychologists are the only discipline trained to administer and interpret psychological tests for diagnosis of mental health problems, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays etc. These diagnoses are considered valid, whereas a social worker or a marriage and family therapist can only suggest that such a disorder might exist. They can't diagnose the disorder, may have trouble with a differential diagnosis (identifying other possible problems) and would have to refer a patient to a psychologist for testing. Psychologists also provide individual, family, or group psychotherapy and design and implement behavior modification programs.


They are medical doctors and get their M.D. degrees from Medical Schools. They are authorized to prescribe medicines and may not be trained in counseling. Psychologists usually refer their cases to psychiatrists if they feels that medications are called for.


In order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), you need to have a masters degree in counseling or a related field. LPCs are trained and qualified to provide counseling based on the diagnosis and recommendations of a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Abbreviations that you may see:
  • PsyD - Doctor of Psychology.
  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy.
  • MA / MS - Masters Degree.
  • LCP - Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
  • LMFT - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LMSW - Licensed Master Social Worker
  • LICSW - Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
  • LSW - Licensed Social Worker
  • LMHC - Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • LPC - Licensed Professional Counselor
  • NCC - National Certification in Counseling
Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and Family Therapists: In order to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), you need to have a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. LMFTs specialize in working with marriage and family relationship problems.

Social Workers

In order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), you need to have a masters degree in Social Work. Social Workers assist families that have serious domestic conflicts, sometimes involving child or spousal abuse. They also help people who face a disability or a life-threatening disease or a social problem, such as inadequate housing, unemployment, or substance abuse.

Online Therapy

Online therapy is an effective, convenient, and safe way to get the help you need to live a healthy and happy life. Please contact us at your earliest convenience and start the recovery process.

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