Choosing the right Psychologist or Counselor can be a daunting task. After doing a simple google search you will find psychologist, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed associated counselors, licensed associate marriage and family therapists, licensed counseling social workers, licensed substance abuse counselors, and life coaches…just to name a few. No wonder people put off finding the right person. Many of us don’t even know where to start! So to help you in your quest for the perfect therapists we will categorize the most common professionals.
Psychologists: Are licensed doctoral level professionals who have completed their bachelors degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree. They usually hold the credentials of PhD or PsyD and may have specialties in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. These professionals have the ability to provide individual counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, group therapy, and may also provide assessment services. They do not prescribe medication but will work along side prescribing physicians, if necessary.
Psychiatrists: Are medical doctors who usually hold the degree of MD or DO. These physicians primarily prescribe medication and treat psychiatric symptoms with medication interventions rather than talk therapy. Appointments are usually between 15 to30 minutes in length and the goal is to monitor the success or side effects of any medications prescribed.
Marriage and Family Therapists: Are licensed counselors who have usually completed their bachelor’s degree and their master’s degree. They usually hold the credentials of LMFT. Marriage and Family Therapists’ training focuses more exclusively on couples and family therapy. Although, most LMFT will also provide individual therapy as well. Additionally, Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (LAMFT) are individuals who have not yet completed their training hours to become an LMFT and are working under supervision.
Licensed Professional Counselors: Are licensed counselors who have usually completed their bachelor’s degree and their master’s degree. They usually hold the credentials of LPC. Licensed Professional Counselors work primarily with individuals, but can also work with couples and families. Additionally, Licensed Associate Counselors (LAC) are individuals who have not yet completed their training hours to become an LPC and are working under supervision.
When looking for a professional, the most important factor to consider is fit. Ask yourself, “Is this someone who looks comforting, seems knowledgeable in the topics I am wishing to discuss, and seems to understand the distress I am experiencing?” At Biltmore Psychology and Counseling, our first goal is to help you find the right therapist that fits your needs and concerns.
Dr. Melissa Estavillo is a Licensed Psychologist and founder of Biltmore Psychology and Counseling. With over 7 years of experience, she specializes in both individual and couples therapy in Phoenix, AZ. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques stemming from Emotionally Focused Theory, Psychodynamic Theory and Other Evidence Based Practices to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.