LifeCraft Counseling & Coaching of Denver

Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

Types of Counselors – Part 2

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


Do I need a counselor?

Most of the people I know have mixed feelings about seeing a counselor (aka therapist, psychotherapist). They talk about counseling like it’s a good thing, something that might actually be beneficial, but when it comes to actually picking up the phone and calling one, they just … don’t. Just the other day, a friend of mine said that she and her husband probably needed to see a counselor. Yet in the same breath she said, “But we’ll never admit we need help.”

People will go to the doctor when they have a body part that isn’t working right, or pain that is stopping them from doing what they want to do. And they will join a gym or hire a personal trainer to improve their physical performance and appearance. But when their emotions, thoughts, behaviors, or relationships stop working for them, or cause them pain, they don’t seek help.

I’m certainly not the first person to observe this, but I think we are held back by the Platonic idea that the mind is somehow separate from the body. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I think we believe, deep down, that we ought to be able to control everything that goes on in our minds. Somehow we suspect that if something is wrong in our minds, it is a reflection on our character, or our identity. Somehow we believe that improving our mental functioning should be as simple as making a decision.

The reality is that most of what occurs between our ears is outside of the realm of our awareness, let alone our direct control. And regardless of our personal beliefs about the relationship between spirit, mind, and body, it is a biological fact that our memories, emotions, thoughts, and even personality, are very much tied to the electrical and chemical processes going on in our physical brains. Seeing a counselor (or other mental health practitioner) should not be a source of shame, but a normal part of taking care of ourselves. It doesn’t mean that a person is crazy, or can’t “get it together,” any more than going to see a doctor for back pain, or going to a personal trainer to get in shape.