What is a clinician in mental health?
A clinician in mental health is a person who possesses the minimum level of training required to treat common psychological problems. The term usually applies to someone with a degree in psychology, psychiatry, clinical social work, or other mental health fields.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental disorders, while psychologists study human behavior and often provide psychotherapy but don’t prescribe medication.
However, some licensed clinicians may be psychologists or social workers (and some who are trained in both disciplines) who work independently without the direct supervision of a psychiatrist; these individuals do not generally require an M.D., but they also cannot prescribe medication.
The job of this non-M.D. Therapists provide therapy at the direction of someone with medical training (usually a psychiatrist), monitoring their patient’s progress and reporting back on what has helped or hindered the process.
This helps ensure that patients don’t receive medications that will conflict with other drugs or therapies they might be using at home, such as certain antidepressants for people living with PTSD, which should not be combined with others that boost serotonin.
Licensed clinicians may work in various settings, from mental health clinics to private practices and hospitals. They may also be employees on staff at large companies, where they provide counseling services for employees who need psychotherapy or other treatment.
A one-on-one therapist will schedule regular meetings with a patient in some cases. In contrast, others offer group sessions that allow people with similar issues to attend meetings together and share their experiences and coping skills.
Clinicians in mental health treat patients with several disorders, including anxiety disorders such as phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), mood disorders such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, sleep disorders such as insomnia and nightmares (for which some clinicians prescribe medication), sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE), attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Some clinicians in mental health provide premarital counseling for couples who want to try to avoid the stress of dealing with psychological issues within their marriages. In contrast, others work with terminally ill patients who wish to die peacefully at home.
They may help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to military service or other traumatic experiences by providing art therapy. Patients express themselves through creative outlets like painting, drawing, and sculpture.
Licensed clinicians also work in addiction medicine, giving support and assistance to people trying to break free from drug and alcohol addiction.
The job of the licensed clinician is to help people gain insight into their behavior, recognize how it affects their quality of life, and find ways to solve problems through healthier means.
Some clinicians use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help patients change harmful behaviors by recognizing negative patterns in thought and action that contribute to ongoing pain or problems, adjusting these thought processes to be more realistic, then redirecting efforts accordingly.
By helping people identify the root causes of bad habits or destructive coping mechanisms, clinicians can recommend healthy alternatives which also teach patience and persistence; it’s not an overnight process because these changes require learning new skills and developing different habits than those which have formed over years or decades.
Licensed clinicians who work in mental health may specialize in individual therapy, family counseling, group therapy, or even art therapy. Their salaries will vary depending on location, certification, and experience.
Non-licensed therapists are not required to have an M.D., but they cannot provide medical diagnosis or prescribe medication; these requirements must be met by licensed clinicians working in mental health. There are other distinctions between the two which you should know if you’re considering a career as a mental health therapist:
1) Licensed therapists can also see patients for up-to-60 minutes sessions, while non-licensed professionals are limited to sessions of 30 minutes each
2) Non-licensed therapists can choose their methods for helping patients cope with emotional pain, but they must respect boundaries set by the patient and cannot provide diagnosis or help with medical needs
3) Licensed therapists use their psychological education to understand how patients view themselves, others, and the world around them to work more efficiently toward a solution
4) Non-licensed therapists earn two-thirds of the income of licensed mental health therapists.
Licensed therapists may work in schools and with children who need special attention for learning disabilities, autism, developmental disabilities, and other psychological problems. They may also offer workshops to teach people new skills to build healthy relationships, effective coping strategies, or anger management techniques that reduce conflict at home, at school, and work.
Sat at home therapists practice teletherapy (where sessions take place over long-distance) and work with patients who live in remote areas. In contrast, others may specialize in treating a certain kind of mental illness.
Licensed therapists have the opportunity to advance their careers by opening private practices, earning certification as marriage-and-family or clinical counselors, completing post-graduate internships, or pursuing training programs that will allow them to offer more services to the community.
They may also choose to work in private clinics, outpatient care centers, or medical facilities with brain-related dysfunction patients to serve as part of a treatment team that includes psychiatrists and other specialists.