Frequently asked Questions
At Miller Counseling & Associates, Inc., we know that seeking a counselor is an important step. We are confident that you will find our fully qualified, licensed professionals to be knowledgable, engaged, compassionate, and focused on your success.
The types of providers and their credentials can be overwhelming. We hope the answers to these frequently asked questions clarify your options and prove helpful in choosing the right therapist for you.
1. How do I choose the right therapist?
Your therapist should be licensed in your state to practice psychotherapy. From there, we think the decision comes down to two things: Expertise and Chemistry.
Expertise: Every licensed provider has demonstrated a minimum level of education and experience, according to state standards. Most therapists also have areas in which they specialize. You will want to ask your potential therapist about the status of her/his license, her/his experience, and approach to treating your particular needs.
Chemistry: Once you feel satisfied that your therapist has the right expertise, then it's a matter of “fit” between yourself and your therapist. The theraputic relationship is inherant in a successful outcome.
Some questions you might ask yourself:
Do I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with this person?
Does she/he seem attentive to what I am saying?
Does she/he seem genuine?
Does she/he demonstrate a non-judgmental and respectful attitude towards me?
Is she/he interrupting our session to answer calls or pages?
Is she/he responsive to my phone calls and requests for information or documentation?
Do I feel like I am getting what I need from her/him?
2.What is the difference between a therapist, social worker, counselor, marriage and family therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist?
Therapist is a generic term for a provider of psychotherapy. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), Clinical Psychologist (Ph.D, Psy.D) and Psychiatrist (M.D.) can all be called therapists.
LCSW'S, LCPC'S, LMFT'S are all licensed professionals who have at least a master's degree from an accredited college or university.
LCSW'S have a master's degree in Social Work, (LCSW'S are the only approved master's level clinician that can see patients that are insured by Medicare).
LCPC'S have a master's degree in psychology or counseling.
LMFT'S have a master's degree in counseling with an emphasis on marriage and family.
Following completion of graduate school, each clinician is required to work in their field, under the direct supervision of a licensed clinician for approximately two years. At this point, they qualify to take their state's licensing exam; which they must pass to attain a license to practice therapy. In order to renew their license, (every two years), each clinician must have acquired a minimum of 30 hours of clinically related continuing education coursework.
Each of these licensed professionals has been educated in the diagnosis, and treatment of mental health, behavioral, and interpersonal issues. They may differ in their areas of specialty and approach, but each can provide assessments, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health & behavioral conditions. Their clinical practice concentrates on talk therapy or other non-medical intervention. They do not prescribe medication. Therapists routinely collaborate with a client's primary care physician or psychiatrist if medication is appropriate for a client.
A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional who has attained a doctorate, a Ph.D or Psy.D in the field of psychology, and is licensed by the state. In addition to talk therapy, a psychologist may have additional training to conduct psychological testing.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who has several years of post-doctoral training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists generally treat their patient's with medication or other medical therapies. Some do provide talk therapy, but in an era of managed care, this is increasingly rare. It is more common for a psychiatrist and a therapist to work together to provide care to patients/clients they have in common.