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Marriage and Family Therapist VS Other Mental Health Professionals: What’s the difference?

By September 19, 2022General
Image of a woman in the middle of a San Diego therapy session. This blog will explain what a marriage and family therapist is and compare them to other mental health professionals. Our marriage and family therapist in San Diego, CA offer several types of counseling services for all ages both in person and through online therapy. Reach out now to learn more!

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:

  • Image of a female couple with a marriage and family therapist in San Diego, CA. What is a marriage and family therapist? It is a mental health professional who can provide specialized San Diego therapy. If you are ready to start speaking with a counselor call today to start online therapy in San Diego.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?

Licensed Psychologist

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

Image of a child meeting with a marriage and family therapist in San Diego, CA. While traying to find the right place for San Diego therapy it is important to understand what a marriage and family therapist is. This blog explains the different types of mental health professionals and what we offer for online therapy in San Diego. Call today to learn more!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?

Image of a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist speaking to a teenager in a pink sweater. So what is a marriage and family therapist? They are a mental health professional who is specially trained in different types of therapy techniques and styles. For example we have several LMFT's who provide online therapy in San Diego for all ages. Call today to learn more!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:

  1. Book an appointment online or call our office today at (858) 776-8804.
  2. Meet with your new therapist in San Diego
  3. 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 treatmentdepression treatment. As well as family therapy and Child LGBTQ and transgender therapy. Additionally we specialize in family reunification therapy and high conflict parenting classes.