Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
A licensed clinical social worker must hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work from an accredited university and must have completed at least 2-years post graduate, supervised experience providing clinical services to families and/or individuals. Additionally, an LCSW must have passed state licensing requirements, including national and state examination, and he or she must participate in on-going continuing education to retain their clinical license. State licensing laws vary from state to state and some states may use different initials to mean the same thing. For example, an LCSW in Oregon is the equivalent of a LMSW-ACP in Texas. An LCSW may hold additional credentials, such as an ACSW, a BCD or a DCSW and he or she may belong to the National Association of Social Workers.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
In the state of Oregon, a licensed marriage and family therapist must hold a Master’s Degree in Psychology or a related field and they must have 2 years post graduate, supervised experience providing clinical services. Additionally, an LMFT must be specifically trained to work with marital and family issues and must past rigorous examination in order to hold this credential. Not all states offer the LMFT as a licensing option and not all insurance companies recognize the LMFT as an appropriate credential for the purpose of reimbursement.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)
In the state of Oregon, a licensed professional counselor must hold a Master’s Degree in Psychology or a related field and they must have completed 2 years post graduate, supervised experience providing clinical services. Additionally, an LPC must pass a written examination and participate in continuing education to keep their license. Not all states offer an LPC as a licensing option; additionally, not all insurance companies recognize the LPC as an appropriate credential for the purpose of reimbursement.
A licensed psychologist must hold a doctorate degree in Psychology (Ph.D., Ed.D, or Psy.D.), and have completed a year’s residency program in an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited program. Additionally, licensed psychologists must participate in continuing education to maintain their license and this education must follow strict rules from the APA. Psychologists are highly trained in various therapeutic techniques and are capable of rendering and interpreting psychological tests (of which there are many).
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) with a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) who has been specifically trained in the administration and use of psychiatric drugs. He or she has prescription privileges that fall under a specified formulary established by the State Board of Nursing. Many PMHNP’s hold additional credentials and engage in psychiatric treatment beyond the prescription of medications.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who holds either a MD or DO degree from an accredited university and who has completed a highly specialized residency program in psychiatry. Like your family physician, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication and has an intricate working knowledge of how psychiatric medications work, the potential benefit of each medication as well as the potential risk or side-effect. Additionally, psychiatrists must participate in on-going continuing medical education to retain their license. Additional training and education is required to practice as a child psychiatrist.