Learn which depression treatment option is right for you.

Mental health providers in Denver and Aurora range in education and skills, here’s what you need to know to find the right provider

Mental Health Providers range in education and skills, here’s what you need to know to find the right provider

There are so many types of mental health providers in Denver and Aurora, who can help me?

When you first recognize that you’d like some help for your depression, anxiety, PTSD, or OCD finding that help can feel overwhelming. As you first start your search for a provider to help you feel better, you’ll find a wide range of provider types with different education and training backgrounds. Fortunately, all of these different types of providers care about helping you achieve better mental health. Many providers will work together in teams to bring you the best possible care.

In an effort to help you start your search for the right providers, we’ve listed and described the various providers in more detail

The Different Roles in Mental Health

Many different professionals can assist you on your mental health journey. The titles and skills of each role can vary by state. Understanding the differences can assist you in finding the right mental health professional. It is also important to consider what you’re looking for.

“I’d like to learn healthier coping skills, improve my relationships, feel better about myself, and or get a mental health evaluation.”

Therapy and Assessments: 

These providers usually see clients for psychotherapy weekly, every other week, or sometimes monthly.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers – LCSW

Clinical social workers are professionals who have a background in social work but continued to pursue training and experience. They are master’s prepared and can assess mental health and use therapy to treat symptoms.  Due to their foundation of social work, they are well versed in advocacy services and case management.

Degree requirements: master’s degree in social work (MSW).
Licensure & credentials: Examples of licensure include:

LICSW – Licensed Independent Social Workers

LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker

After graduating, these professionals practice under the supervision of a more experienced clinician for two or more years to gain the real world experience necessary to treat people independently.

Counselors and Therapists – LPC, LMFT, MFAT

These professionals are master’s level prepared mental health professionals that are trained to assess mental health conditions and use therapy techniques as treatment. There are several different titles including therapists, counselors, clinicians. These professionals can teach coping skills, understand behaviors and assist in trauma processing to improve symptoms. Therapists and Counselors can help a client better understand the feelings, and thoughts they are experiencing.

Degree requirements: master’s degree (M.S. or M.A.) in psychology, counseling, therapy or another mental health-related field.
Licensure & Certification: Varies by state guidelines or specialty. A few examples are:

LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor

LCADAC  – Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor

LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

After graduating, these professionals practice under the supervision of a more experienced clinician for two or more years to gain the real world experience necessary to treat people independently.

Psychologists – PsyD

Psychologists have a doctoral degree in education, counseling or psychology. They are licensed by their state board. Psychologist can assess someone’s mental health via interview or psych testing. Some psychologists can perform specific types of therapy. Psychologist can diagnose mental health conditions and can treat via different types of therapy. They are unable to prescribe medications.

Degree requirements: 

Ph.D. – Doctor of Philosophy in a field of psychology, education or counseling; Psy. D. Doctor of Psychology
Licensure & credentials: Psychologists are licensed by licensure boards in each state.

“I am looking for someone to evaluate my symptoms and prescribe medication if needed.”

Prescribe Medications, and Diagnose:

Psychiatrists – MD

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are licensed and trained in psychiatric training. Psychiatrists can assess and diagnose mental health diagnosis, as well as prescribe medications. Some may provide therapy. Some psychiatrists receive additional training in and focus on special populations including pediatrics, substance use disorders, geriatrics and more.

Degree requirements:  Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or Doctor of Medicine (MD) plus completion of residency in psychiatry.
Licensure & credentialsLicensed physician by the state

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners – PMHNP

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are Master’s or Doctorate prepared Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN-PMHNP) that specialize in psychiatric care. After working as registered nurses for at least a year, they return to graduate school and focus purely on psychiatry an psychiatric medications. These psychiatric experts evaluate, diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Some PMHNP’s may also provide therapy. These providers focus only on and are experts in providing psychiatric care.

Degree requirements:  Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing with specialized focus on psychiatry or Master of Science (MS)
Licensure & credentials: Licensed nurse in the state where they are practicing: PMHNP-BC, Board Certification in psychiatric nursing through the American Academy of Nurses Credentialing Center  or NCLEX, National Council Licensure Examination.

 Both of these prescriber types can diagnose, treat, and manage mental health patients. They can and do provide some psychotherapy, but do not often see a patient for weekly therapy. They are experts in Integrative PsychiatryTMSSpravato, and Ketamine.

Other Mental Health Professionals

Certified Peer Specialists

These are specialists have personally experienced a mental health condition or substance use disorder. They may have been diagnosed in the past, or have a family connection. Peer Specialists are trained and certified to assist with setting goals, being supportive, developing strength and setting goals. They provide, mentoring and guidance.

Pastoral Counselors

Pastoral counselors are members of the church who specific training in clinical pastoral education. They are trained to provide counseling, and in some cases diagnose.

2024 All rights reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram