We have specialists for every discipline. If there are physical health issues there are MD’s available and if there are financial concerns there are financial advisors. What about mental health concerns?
About 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a given year (Nami.org) Yet there is still an overpowering stigma around seeking help for mental health concerns. If you have gotten past this barrier CONGRATULATIONS!
There are many types of mental health practitioners (MFT’s, LCSW’s, PhD, PsyD, Psychiatrist) and this can also add some confusion. A LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist trained in treating the issue through a systemic lens. Viewing the problem not as an individual issue. A LCSW is a Licensed
Clinical Social Worker whose training usually consist of traditional psychology principles. Both LMFT’s and LCSW’s have to go through master level degrees, are supervised under a licensed practitioner and have to complete about 3,000 hours before being eligible to take their licensing exam. While there are other differences and similarities this is just a brief comparison. A PhD indicates the person has a doctorate of psychology and a PsyD is a Doctor of philosophy in psychology. PhD is more research based training while a PsyD focuses more on assessing and treatment. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that treats and assess mental health disorders. A psychiatrist does not usually provide talk therapy and prescribes psychotropic medications. This brief comparison is intended to reduce some of the confusion that can occur in taking the first step of speaking to a professional. All mentioned above are regulated by a board and also have law and ethical guidelines they should follow.
Now that there is some clarity on the letters after the name of the professional here are some questions to consider in helping you challenge some of those negative thoughts that may be hindering you from making that first appointment.
- What are your own ideas or your family’s messages received about mental health?
- How would you feel If someone found out you were talking to a mental health practitioner and why?
- How do you handle emotions?
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