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Anxiety, Depression, Marriage, Family Problems? Get the Best Counselor for You-From Barrington

Jul 31, 2008
Since psychiatrists were first called alienists in the 1800s, mental health treatment has diversified and expanded. Over the years the mental health professions have evolved and improved their treatments.

There are now at least 5 separate mental health disciplines in America that provide treatment for emotional problems. It is interesting; cooperation and competition among these professions has forced them to expand the diversity of their services, compete by reducing fees and sometimes do a little bit of both.

The most highly educated professional in the practice of mental health is the psychologist. He or she has a doctoral degree in psychology, which represents about 6 years of college training in mental health, psychology and counseling, plus an internship.

Their areas of expertise include psychotherapy, counseling, diagnosis, psychological assessment, testing and the conducting of clinical research. Their education is rigorous and after earning their doctorate in a 3-4 year graduate program, they are required to successfully complete an internship and pass a comprehensive examination which qualifies them to practice independently in the state.

The bulk of their college training is in the psychological sciences, which makes them the most qualified experts in mental health and psychological issues. Their fees are largely determined by the health insurance companies with which they are affiliated.

A patient is likely to pay from $10 to $50 per visit as a co-payment with the insurance company paying the balance.

The psychiatrist has a doctoral degree in medicine or osteopathy and is mainly responsible for prescribing psychiatric medications and performing occasional electroshock treatments. They receive the bulk of their education, 2 years of upper division college work and 4 years of osteopathic or medical school, studying the chemical, biological and medical sciences.

Psychiatrists typically receive only three years of training during their residency, studying mental health and psychiatric treatment. As such, they are rarely taught or practice psychological counseling, testing or psychotherapy.

They also receive little, if any training in family or marriage counseling. When consulting with a psychiatrist you can generally count on providing a medical history and being prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Occasionally, he or she will refer you for counseling or testing. Again, their fees and your co-payment are largely determined by your insurance company.

The clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family counselor and the licensed mental health counselor also provide individual and family counseling. A social worker has 2 years of graduate training in the practice of social work, which includes training in counseling and community casework as well as a masters degree.

The marriage and family counselor has 1 to 2 years of training specifically in counseling problem marriages and troubled families. Both of these professionals also have a masters degree, serve an internship and pass a comprehensive examination in order to be licensed to practice.

These professionals mainly do counseling and occasionally may refer a client for testing or medication. Some, but not all insurance policies will pay for their services.

The variety of professionals providing treatment for emotional, relationship and family problems reflects the variety of treatments and interventions available: Drugs, psychotherapy, individual counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling and psychological testing, sometimes called X Rays of the Mind.

It is important to know what type of professional you are consulting because most treatment providers will recommend options and engage in treatment based on their own unique education and experience.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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