WHAT TYPES OF PROVIDERS ARE THERE?
There are different types of providers in the mental health field who perform different services. Their licenses depend on their level of education and training. Many people find this confusing.
MD (Doctor of Medicine):
Someone who has completed medical school. Psychiatrists hold MD degrees, have specialized training in psychiatric conditions and medications, and can prescribe medication, perform assessments and evaluations, and diagnose.
PNP (Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner):
Someone who has completed a Master’s Degree in nursing and can prescribe medication. A PNPhas specialized training in psychiatric conditions and medication. They often do not perform assessments or evaluations, but can diagnose and sometimes also offer counseling.
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and PsyD (Doctor of Psychology):
Someone who has completed a Doctoral program. These providers are often addressed as “Dr.” but cannot prescribe medication. They often are trained in assessments and evaluations, can diagnose and often offer counseling.
LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker):
Someone who has completed a Master’s degree in social work (MSW). An MSW program focuses on a broad spectrum of issues and includes extensive training in advocacy, social justice, diagnostics, and person-in-environgment. LCSWs cannot prescribe medication. They can diagnose, counsel, advocate, work in public policy positions or management and work in hospital settings.
LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist):
Someone who has completed a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). MFT’s are trained from a systemic perspective which means they work with individuals, couples, and families from the perspective of understanding how the client, or clients, are interacting with their environment and the relationships in their life. MFT’s approach treatment from the mindset of “context is key,” the more we can build an understanding of the relationships in your life, the easier it will become to identify ways to create and maintain lasting change. LMFTs cannot prescribe medication. They can counsel, as well as work in a variety of settings.
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor):
Someone who has completed a Master’s degree in counseling (MC). LPCs cannot prescribe medication. They can counsel, as well as work in a variety of settings.
LCSW, LMFT and an LPC have undergone national testing, had years of clinical supervision, and have been required to log over 3,200 hours of client contact before being able to practice independently.
All the levels of licensure listed above are governed by their respective Boards in the state of Arizona. You can easily look up any person who holds a license on their respective website (specific to their Board) and search for any disciplinary action against that provider, or to verify that their license is recent and in good standing. All providers are required to attend continuing education to maintain their licenses.
To verify licensure and search for Board actions or complaints for LMFT, LCSW, and LPC, visit www.AZBBHE and click on “Verifications.”