If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder, finding the right type and level of care can have a significant positive impact on your ability to live a healthier life. When exploring treatment options, an important question to ask yourself is, “What kind of mental health professional do I need?”
What Kind of Mental Health Professional Do I Need?
Mental health disorders affect different people in different ways. Even if two people have been diagnosed with the same disorder, this doesn’t mean they will have identical symptoms. Nor does it mean they will respond to treatment in the same way.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to find the mental health professional that best matches your unique needs and preferences.
The following are among the many personal factors that can influence which type of mental health professional is best for you:
- Your age and gender
- Your relationship status and your role within your family
- The type of mental health disorder or disorders you have developed
- The nature and severity of the symptoms you have been experiencing
- Your treatment history (including both physical and mental health treatment)
- Whether or not you are also struggling with substance abuse or addiction
- The types of therapies that best meet your needs
- The level at which you are receiving care (such as residential treatment or intensive outpatient programming)
Answering the question, “What kind of mental health professional do I need?” is a matter of finding the provider whose skills and experiences align with your circumstances.
For example, some mental health professionals specialize in treating children. Others focus on adolescents, adults, couples, and entire families. Certain mental health professionals have expertise in treating those with trauma. Others are trained to care for people whose mental health challenges are accompanied by co-occurring addiction. This is a somewhat common occurrence known as dual diagnosis.
Types of Mental Health Professionals & Who They Treat
Among medical professionals, there are general categories of providers (such as doctors and nurses) and specializations within these general categories (such as internists, neurologists, and pediatric nurses).
Finding the right provider is an important part of ensuring you get the care you need. You wouldn’t expect a pediatric orthopedist to treat an adult who has diabetes. You wouldn’t want to take a child who has a broken leg to be examined by a geriatric cardiologist. The same is true of mental health professionals.
Some of the common general types of mental health professionals include doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and social workers. Specialized mental health professionals include psychologists, psychiatrists, and experts who have earned a variety of credentials and certifications, such as the following:
- CCTSA: Certified clinical trauma specialist-addiction
- CCTSI: Certified clinical trauma specialist-individual
- LMFT: Licensed marriage and family therapist
- LCSW Licensed clinical social worker
- MSW: Master of social work
- LPC: Licensed professional counselor
- LMHC: Licensed mental health counselor
- PMHNP: Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
If you receive care in a residential setting or an intensive outpatient program (IOP), you may work with a variety of professionals who have an array of licenses or credentials. Facilities offering multidisciplinary treatment teams like this may be better prepared to offer the customized services that best reflect your specific history, needs, and goals.
Multidisciplinary treatment teams that include mental health professionals from a variety of backgrounds typically include experts in various forms of therapy and counseling. Once you’ve completed your assessment and received an accurate diagnosis, a multidisciplinary team of treatment professionals can develop and deliver the personalized treatment plan that’s best for you.
How to Find a Mental Health Professional Near Me
When you’re trying to find a mental health professional near you, it’s important to understand the credentials and specializations of any provider you’re considering.
Each type of mental health professional must complete certain training in order to earn the certification that allows them to treat patients. However, a mental health professional’s license or credentials don’t necessarily limit them to only one type of service.
For example, licensed clinical social workers may conduct mental health assessments, provide diagnoses, and lead individual and group counseling sessions. They may also serve as case managers, connect clients with community-based services, and otherwise help people of all ages and genders.
As the name of their license suggests, licensed marriage and family therapists often work with married couples and their children. But you don’t have to be legally married to receive care from an LMFT, nor do you have to have children. LMFTs can provide individual therapy, some focus solely on children and adolescents. Others offer specialized services for older adults.
For this reason, you may want to conduct online research to find a mental health professional near you. You may also want to consult with your family doctor or contact a mental health support organization in your area. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to find the right mental health professional near you.
Begin Mental Health Treatment at Neuroscience Institute
Neuroscience Institute provides customized mental health treatment services in South Florida, Oklahoma, New York, and New Jersey. If you’re searching for quality care in a safe and welcoming environment, one of our locations might be ideal for you.
To learn more about how Neuroscience Institute can help you discover your path to improved health, or for answers to any questions you may have about mental health treatment near you, contact us today.