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Which Behavioral Health Clinician Should I Choose?

There are many types of behavioral health professionals.  If you are unclear as to what it is you need, a good start is to have a discussion with your primary care physician and describe the symptoms and/or problems you are experiencing.  He or she can then suggest the type of behavioral health professional you should contact. If you prefer, one of our office staff can assist you with this selection.

Types of Behavioral Health Professionals


A psychiatrist is a physician who is trained in the medical and psychological components of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They are qualified to prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests, and practice psychotherapy.

Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist

A child/adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses in children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are also qualified to prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests, and practice psychotherapy.


A psychologist is a clinician trained to make diagnoses and provide individual and group therapy. Counseling and psychotherapy are common activities for psychologists. Clinical psychologists help patients deal with illnesses (i.e. stroke, chronic pain), injuries (i.e. spinal cord injury), and personal difficulties (i.e. death of a loved one, divorce).

Clinical Social Worker

A clinical social worker provides behavioral health services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders in individuals, families, and groups. Their goal is to improve and maintain their patients’ physical, psychological, and social function.

Licensed Professional Counselor

A licensed professional counselor is trained to work with individuals, families, and groups in treating mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders.

Mental Health Counselor

A mental health counselor is trained to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, provide consultation to individuals, couples, families, and groups, and assist clients in coping with a wide variety of problems and concerns. Mental health counselors specialize in many areas and often work closely with other behavioral health clinicians, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses.

Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

A certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor is a counselor with specific clinical training in alcohol and drug abuse and is trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Alcohol and drug abuse counselors help guide addicts through their recovery by leading groups, having individual sessions, and offering intensive case management.

Nurse Psychotherapist

A nurse psychotherapist is a registered nurse who is trained in the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing. Nurse psychotherapists care for people of all ages with mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression or dementia.

Marital and Family Therapist

A marital and family therapist works with families and couples in intimate relationships to support change and development. Marital and family therapists focus on the dynamics of the family and issues of interpersonal conflict, power, control, and values.