Mental health is the most important part of your well being, with your mentality controlling how you feel both mentally and physically. Mental strength is a skill many of us need, but not all know how to build. For that reason you may be thinking you need professional help, and have been recommended to visit a therapist. You may be thinking, ``What is a therapist?” We’re here to help you learn about all the different types of mental health professionals, and what a therapist can do for you.
By definition, a therapist is a broad description for professionals trained to provide rehabilitation, treatment, and counseling. The term is often applied to a variety of individuals ranging from life coaches, social workers, counselors, psychologists and more. The term therapist itself can be used for a range of different professions, however in order to be a psychotherapist or a counselor, you must be professionally licensed. Beyond generic psychotherapy, many therapists also hyper specialize in fields such as music therapy, family therapy, child therapy, yoga therapy, addiction therapy, and more. Some of the most common mental health fields therapists practice involve behavioral disorders, substance abuse, school and career issues, trauma, and rehabilitation. If you or anyone you know suffers from one of these issues, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Seeing as how therapy is denoted as a generic term for mental health professionals, you may be wondering “what’s the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?”. When it comes to the term “Psychologist” it too serves as an umbrella term for an individual in the field of psychology, only it denotes the difference between a medical professional with a bachelor’s or a master’s and one with a Ph.D. A psychologist has an advanced specialization in behavioral therapy, yet can hold many of the same roles as therapists. Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and doctors often work in unison to provide holistic care solutions to patients in need. You may then be wondering, “What is a psychiatrist?”.
A psychiatrist takes therapy to the next level by adding clinical practice training and primary medical care. Psychiatrists are the only one of the three licensed to prescribe medication, and are regarded as doctors since they hold M.D. degrees. When a patient needs medical treatment, they are oftentimes referred to a psychiatrist for the next step in their treatment. This works vice versa as well, since psychiatrists will refer a patient to a therapist once they are done with the desired therapeutic dosage and can de-escalate their treatment.
Now that you know the difference between the three, you may be wondering “Do I need a therapist or a psychiatrist?”. Every situation is uniquely different, and we recommend you scheduling a free consultation with a psychotherapist to see what your next steps of treatment may be. You may want to start off with therapy before you venture towards medical treatment. Oftentimes you can solve several mental health issues with psychotherapy and counseling, as your mental fortitude will develop over time and you will gain valuable mental skills to help you cope with your issues now and in the future. We can’t wait to help build the future you.
Amber Amick, APC, NCC, Professional School Counselor, is a practicing Sage Center Atlanta clinician and school counselor in the Metro Atlanta area. Amber serves as the Director of Marketing and PR for Sage Center Atlanta.