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Who practices mental health therapies?

Dr. Julie Hanks, PhD, LCSW, Social HealthMaker
Marriage & Family Therapy Specialist
Mental health therapy can be performed by various health and mental health disciplines. The important distinction to look for is state licensure. It can get confusing trying to sort through the acronyms used by licensed professionals.  Here's a sampling of different disciplines licensed to practice of mental health therapy in the US:
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (APRN)
  • Psychiatrist (MD)
  • Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Pastoral Counselors may also be licensed

Qualified mental health practitioners or mental health providers practice mental health therapies. Practitioners include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatric social workers, and psychiatric nurses. They also include addiction counselors, art therapists, marriage and family therapists, religious counselors, and sex therapists.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.