In addition to the types of professionals we have already described, there are some other types of professionals who can practice psychotherapy or work as counselors.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers
This type of licensed professional, often known as an LCSW, must meet requirements that are similar to the LPC, and LMFT, described in a previous post. They have completed a graduate degree in clinical social work, passed a licensing examination, and gathered a certain number of supervised clinical hours. They provide the same kinds of counseling and psychotherapy as LPCs and LMFTs.
This type of licensed professional has completed a doctoral level degree in psychology, either a PhD or PsyD. They have also passed a licensing examination and gathered a certain number of supervised clinical hours. They can provide the same kinds of counseling and psychotherapy as LPCs and LMFTs. Their more extensive training also allows them to conduct more extensive psychological assessment.
Certified Addiction Counselors
These professionals, also known as CACs, are trained to provide counseling focused on substance addiction and abuse. There are three levels of CAC certification, which require progressively higher levels of training and experience.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. They are the only type mental health professional who can provide counseling / psychotherapy AND prescribe medication. If your counselor or psychotherapist believes you could benefit from medication, he or she may suggest that you contact either a general practitioner or a psychiatrist.
As we said in the previous post, Colorado is unique in the US in that it does not require professional psychotherapists to be licensed, provided they have registered with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs. However, counselors, psychotherapists, and other professionals who meet the necessary requirements can practice under various licenses and certifications issued by the state.
Licensed Professional Counselor
In Colorado, a licensed professional counselor, sometimes called an LPC, has i) finished a graduate degree (masters level or higher) in Counseling that meets certain state requirements, ii) passed a national examination, and after graduation, iii) completed a certain amount of supervised work with clients. LPCs can practice psychotherapy or counseling with individuals, groups, couples, and families. The main professional organization that represents LPCs is the American Counseling Association, or ACA. This organization also creates the ethical standards for LPCs. Someone who has completed the required graduate degree but who is still working toward the other requirements for licensing can register as a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
This type of licensed psychotherapist, often known as an LMFT, must meet requirements that are very similar to the LPC, described above. In fact, the same degree may meet the requirements for both licenses, and some professionals acquire both. In addition, an LMFT and an LPC are allowed to practice all of the same activities. The primary difference is that LMFTs are represented by a different professional organization, known as the American Family Therapy Association, that maintains its own (similar) ethical standards.
Next: Part 3