Different Types of Mental Health Professionals

It can be challenging to seek help for mental health issues, even if you know that you have a mental health illness or suspect that you may have one. And even after taking this step, you may still be confused about the various professionals working in mental health.

Do you need someone who specializes in just therapy or can also write prescriptions for you? Should you consult with a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

Specialists in mental health have undergone additional study and training beyond that general practitioners require. When you search for a mental health professional who can prescribe medication, some potential determining criteria include the stage of your mental health journey, suggestions from your family doctor, and knowledge of the types of mental health providers who can do so.

Because each mental health professional fulfills a distinct function in providing mental health treatment, you might require additional information before deciding which one is best for you.


A psychologist can assess an individual’s state of mind. They arrive at a diagnosis using a combination of interviews and examinations. These specialists are also responsible for facilitating therapy on an individual basis as well as in a group environment.

Psychologists must have a doctoral degree (either a Psy.D or a PhD) and a license to practice in the state where they work. It is not common for psychologists to be able to write drug prescriptions, but laws regarding this topic vary from state to state.

Additional training, including specific training in psychopharmacology (the use of pharmaceuticals to treat mental health disorders), is required for those who wish to be able to administer medications to their patients.

Therapists and Counselors

These specialists in the field of mental health have a master’s degree (MA or MS). They conduct evaluations of mental health and can deliver therapy either individually or in groups.

There are many different names for therapists and counselors, each of which reflects the specific training and credentials they possess.

Your therapist may have a slightly different title depending on where you reside because the regulations for licensing therapists in each state are distinct from one another.

Counselors and therapists are not allowed to write prescriptions for patients. On the other hand, they might be able to put you in touch with a service provider that can supply you with a variety of aid if they think that will be beneficial to you.

Some of the therapists and counselors that you might come across include:

Family and marriage therapist

These experts specialize in counseling couples and marriages and therapy for families. The couple or family is the primary focus of their attention. They are assisted in overcoming dysfunction so they can function more effectively as a cohesive unit to flourish. Although they do assist particular members of the marriage or family, their work primarily focuses on how the members of the unit can coexist and work together.

Addiction counselors 

Counselors that specialize in addiction provide treatment for patients. This typically refers to issues related to substance abuse or gambling, but it can also refer to less prevalent addictions such as sexual addictions or hoarding.

Counseling for addiction is typically conducted in groups.  This is quite similar to the approach that Alcoholics Anonymous uses in its meetings, although it can be done privately or for the families.

Grief counselors

​​Bereavement counseling, often known as grief counseling, is a form of therapy aimed at assisting people in coping with the death of a loved one. A grief counselor can assist you in developing methods and strategies for coping with the loss you have suffered and the pain accompanying it. Grief therapy gives people who have just lost a loved one an outlet to talk about their thoughts and feelings, which in turn helps them find strategies to make the mourning process more bearable.

Social worker

Most social workers have a master’s degree in social work (MSW), and others work toward becoming licensed as clinical social workers. In the fields of health and education, they frequently collaborate with professionals from other fields on interdisciplinary teams.

A clinical social worker can serve as your partner in mental health and assist you in locating and expanding upon your natural assets and talents in order to improve your overall well-being.

These experts are not allowed to write prescriptions for medications.

Reach Out To Peaks Recovery Centers

For more information on the different types of mental health professionals and how they can help, contact Peaks Recovery today.

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.