So, you’re looking for a therapist. You’re doing your research, but it’s hard to tell which therapist is right for you. On top of that, there are so many different types of licenses! What even is a Marriage and Family Therapist compared to a Psychologist or LCSW? It’s hard to know what all of those licenses mean and the differences between them. This blog will help you understand the different types of licenses to make an informed decision when choosing a therapist in San Diego. Before we discuss the differences between each license, let’s discuss some similarities. All mental health professionals are qualified to:
- Provide therapy
- Provide diagnoses
- Receive reimbursement from your insurance
- Required to complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience before receiving their license.
Now, let’s move into some critical differences.
What is A Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist, & LCSW?
Let’s start with Licensed Psychologists. A Licensed Psychologist can earn either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. while in graduate school. These degrees are earned through conducting research culminating in a dissertation at the end of their program. Psychologists receive training in diagnosis and treatments for mental health disorders. However, their training is not in providing therapy specifically. Instead, the focus is on research surrounding mental health services and Psychology concepts. In addition to obtaining their degree, they must complete 3,000 hours of experience in the field. However, there is no requirement for how these hours are earned. So it may not include any hours providing therapy to clients.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Next, let’s look at LCSWs. LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A license in Social Work is earned by obtaining a Master’s degree and completing 3,000 hours of experience. 700 of which must include direct contact with clients. It is important to note that “direct contact” for this license does not necessarily mean that the Social Worker is providing therapy. An LCSW’s training is primarily focused on social programs. Which prepares Social Workers to work for various types of social service agencies. That being said, many Clinical Social Workers do provide therapy.
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
Let’s move on to LPCCs. LPCC stands for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. To obtain an LPCC license one must obtain a Master’s degree and acquire 3,000 hours of experience. 1,750 of these hours must be spent providing therapy to clients. An LPCC’s training is in providing therapy to individual adults. It is important to note that LPCCs are not trained to work with couples, families, children, or adolescents during their Master’s program. Many LPCCs seek additional training in providing therapy to these types of clients. However, it is not required for them to do so to practice therapy.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Finally, let’s look at LMFTs. LMFT stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. A Marriage and Family Therapy License requires a Master’s degree. In addition to completing 3,000 hours of supervised experience. 1,750 of these hours must be spent providing direct therapy to clients.
A Master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy focuses on providing direct therapy services to clients. As a result, Marriage and Family Therapists are required to be trained in many different types of therapy. Thus they learn a variety of interventions, such as the ones used at Family Connections Therapy, that are useful when working with clients. In addition, Marriage and Family Therapists are specifically trained to work with many different types of clients, including:
Marriage and Family Therapy programs also emphasize diversity so that Marriage and Family Therapists understand the importance of culture and context when working with clients of different backgrounds.
When are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists the best choice?
There are several reasons to choose LMFTs for therapy over other licenses. Their training is focused explicitly on providing therapy. Which is an important distinction compared to Psychologists and LCSWs. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are also required to spend 1,750 hours specifically providing therapy to clients before licensure. This is another important distinction when compared to Clinical Social Workers who are required to obtain 700 client contact hours. And when compared to Psychologists who are not required to obtain any experience directly providing therapy to clients. Marriage and Family Therapists are specifically trained to provide therapy for a variety of situations and age ranges. Which is an important distinction when compared to Professional Clinical Counselors who are trained to provide therapy to individuals only.
I hope this clears up any questions you may have about the different types of licenses you will see when searching for a therapist. Hopefully, this information will help you better equip yourself to find a therapist who is right for you!
Are You Ready to Meet With A Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA?
Whatever your reasoning is to seek out counseling Family Connections Therapy is here to support you and your mental health. Whether you are looking for individual therapy for adults, teens, or children, family therapy, or couples therapy we have a Marriage and Family Therapist for you. When you are ready to start therapy in San Diego or online in California follow these simple steps:
- Book an appointment online or call our office today at (858) 776-8804.
- Meet with your new therapist in San Diego
- Start getting support that is tailored to you
Other Therapy Services at Family Connections Therapy in San Diego, CA
At our San Diego based therapy practice we offer several of different options for children, teens, and adults. Including couples therapy, anxiety treatment, depression treatment. As well as family therapy and Child LGBTQ and transgender therapy. Additionally we specialize in family reunification therapy and high conflict parenting classes.