How To Choose a Therapist
Perhaps you’re not even sure how to begin looking for help. The mental health profession can be complex and confusing. What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? How about a therapist? Counselor? Social worker? Which one do you need to see?
Here’s a chart that will hopefully help you understand the difference in qualifications and services of various types of helping professionals and assist you in deciding which one might best be able to meet your needs:
|Profession||Can Diagnose||Can Prescribe Medications||Provides Counseling|
|Pediatrician/ Family Doctor||yes||yes||no|
|Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)||yes||no||yes|
The terms “counselor” and “therapist” tend to be used rather broadly for any number of professionals who offer mental health services such as counseling. These type therapists are qualified to provide counseling and “talk therapy,” but cannot prescribe medication. If you need medication, they will refer you to see a psychiatrist. Before receiving treatment from anyone, it is best if you ask them about their specific qualifications, including their degree and any licenses they hold.
At CCS, our counselors all have a Master’s Degree in a counseling related field, a professional license (requirements typically include a Master’s Degree, thousands of hours of supervised experience, passing a written exam, and ongoing CEUs), and at least 2 years post-Master’s Degree counseling experience. We also have interns who are those who do not quite yet meet these qualifications but who are on an active track to do so in a reasonable time period. Interns are able to offer sessions at a lower rate and the therapy they provide is still very solid as they generally either still have the support of an academic institution and/or a clinical supervisor.
Clients are welcome to browse our counselors’ profiles and choose whoever seems like a good fit to them. Factors you may want to take into consideration as you make your decision include:
- Experience – what issues does he or she specialize in or have experience treating?
- Populations the counselor works with – Adults? Children? Couples? Families?
- Language – Sometimes it is easier to speak with someone who speaks your native language. We have counselors from around the world who speak many different languages.
- Location – We have counseling centers in JinQiao, Downtown, HongQiao, and Minhang.
- Schedule – When is the counselor available – Daytime? Evening? Weekends?
If you feel overwhelmed or just aren’t sure who might be the best fit for you, contact our Director of Counseling, Carrie Jones, and she can help make suggestions and recommendations regarding who you might want to consider.