The world of psychological credentials is confusing to laypersons. Here is your handy guide:
A licensed clinical social worker has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license.
A licensed mental health counselor has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license. The benefit of seeing an LMHC over an LCSW is that the LMHC can see an individual, that individual’s spouse, and/or family and be within our code of ethics. An LCSW is not allowed to see individuals who are also patients as a couple or a family due to their code of ethics.
MHC-RI or CSW-RI
The “RI” refers to the person being a registered intern for one of the professions (Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Social Work). The state is aware that the practitioner is learning and is under supervision for a period of time and then can apply for licensure after that time is completed successfully. Registered interns are not allowed to be in private practice on their own, but they are allowed to have their own caseloads of clients, even seeing clients individually. They can work at a private practice, or for an agency.
A licensed professional counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. These persons have passed a national exam. This designation is used in certain states, not including Florida.
A nationally certified counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. This designation is used nationally. I am not sure if the practitioner also needs a state license or not.
A psychiatrist has a medical degree and a doctorate. They are able to prescribe medications like any other medical doctor. Most psychiatrists spend about 15 minutes with a patient to check for medication side-effects or assess for increasing or decreasing dosages. Typically, they do not give therapy. Psychiatrists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.
A psychologist has a doctorate degree but does not prescribe medication and has very little, if any, medical training. Many psychologists have a PsyD instead of a PhD, which means they have a clinical specialty. This is often a more appropriate specialty for providing counseling. Psychologists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.
A life coach is NOT a therapist. Coaches legally cannot provide therapy. Many therapists also provide coaching as an addendum to their services, generally in a specialty area like career coaching, relationship coaching, etc. Life coaches have to take a training course to become certified, but they are not required to have any education in counseling, nor is being certified essential. There is little oversight into coaching, so be cautious if you choose to use one by looking into their credentials and specialty expertise.
A certified hypnotherapist (or certified clinical hypnotherapist) has a minimum amount of training in the specialty of clinical hypnosis to become initially certified, and an amount of training each year to maintain certification. There are many types of hypnotherapy and you should ask about their given specialty to see how this will fit for you. The board that oversees hypnotherapists is national, not a state agency.
A hypnotist can be anyone trained in either clinical or stage hypnosis. A hypnotist does not need any counseling training and is not a therapist. Hypnotists are allowed to work with “minor” issues like weight loss, quitting smoking, motivation, and things you might go to a clinic to do without working through any underlying issues. A hypnotist is not allowed to give therapy. Be cautious by asking about their training and what sort of issues they cover. Too broad a scope is a warning sign that they may be practicing outside of their scope of work. The state does not oversee this specialty, so be careful.
A certified practitioner (or master certified practitioner) has at least 50 hours of training per year in Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT) and may or may not be a licensed clinician. Again, one can be a hypnotist and a CP. Do check what other licenses the practitioner holds before you book an appointment.
I am a licensed mental health counselor, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and a certified practitioner in RRT.
Autumn Hahn, LMHC, CHt, CP
Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.