Monthly Archives: February 2011

National Wise Mental Health Consumer Month: What Happens When You Get Treatment?

Many people ate hesitant to get help for mental health problems because they don’t know what treatment will be like. They may also have misconceptions about what treatment is like.

Sometimes people don’t know how to find a mental health professional.  One way is to look on one of the following websites:

National Institute on Mental Health: How to Find Help

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Mental Health Services Locator

Psychology Today: Therapist Search

It is best if you can get a referral from your doctor’s office or through a friend.

When you call the mental health professional they or their secretary will usually ask you some information and schedule an appointment.  When you see the mental health professional they will ask you some questions in order to evaluate what the beast treatment options will be.

Most mental health professionals offer psychotherapy/counseling (mental health counseling and psychotherapy are basically the same thing).  They will ask you questions about your problems, feelings, family or other relationships, and any physical symptoms you might have.  They will then come up with a plan for treatment. They may also suggest you see your doctor to make sure their are not any medical conditions that might be effecting your mental health.

A psychiatrist may suggest medication if they think it is necessary.  For example: clinical depression, severe anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other more serious mental problems. A Psychiatrist may also do counseling/psychotherapy with you or refer you to counseling if they do not do counseling themselves.

Mental health professionals who are not Psychiatrists my refer you to a Psychiatrist or another doctor for a medication evaluation (Usually only medical doctors can prescribe medications).

For serious mental health problems usually a combination of counseling and medication is most effective. If you are uncomfortable with taking medication, counseling without medication is usually very effective .

Counseling is usually weekly. It can last until your major problems are resolved or be more long-term.  It depends on the individual’s particular problems and issues.  In counseling you talk about your problems, thoughts, feelings, relationships, etc. You will talk with your counselor about how to solve your problems and deal with life more effectively. Counseling is hard work, but the more effort you put into it, the more effective it will be.

National Wise Mental Health Consumer Month: What are the different types of Mental Health Professionals?

Distinguishing between the different types of mental health professionals confusing.

Psychiatrists: A Psychiatrist is medical doctor (MD) who has specialized in mental health problems. Since they are medical doctors, they can prescribe medications for treatment. Many psychiatrists also do counseling /psychotherapy.

Psychologists: A Psychologist a scholar or professional who studies human behavior. A Clinical Psychologist or Counseling Psychologist does counseling/psychotherapy.  A Psychologist has a PhD, PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), or EdD (Doctorate of Education.

There are a number of different kinds  master’s level mental health practitioners.  Sometimes the name is based on state regulations.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT): A LMFT has at least a master’s degree and is trained in counseling/psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families, and children.  MFT degrees used to be called MFCC (Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling).

Licensed  Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, (LCPC), & Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): These councilors have at least a master’s degree and sometimes a doctorate. They are trained to do general counseling, career counseling, and/or psychotherapy.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW): Social workers sometimes work at social service agencies doing case management and coordinating community services. Many clinical social workers are trained in and do counseling/psychotherapy.

Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC): These counselors have a master’s degree and specialize in treatment of alcoholism, drug addition, etc.

All of the above mental health professionals have to be licensed or certified by the states they practice in and in their respective fields. They have to require many hours of training and clinical experience under supervision before they are authorized to practice on their own.

To get help with mental health problems:

National Institute on Mental Health: How to Find Help

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Mental Health Services Locator

Psychology Today: Therapist Search