A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in medically diagnosing and treating mental illness. Their education is based around the understanding of the physiological connection of mental illness. Psychiatrists primarily focus on treating medical maladaptive effects that mental illness has. They incorporate some behavioral techniques but integrate the use of medication when working with clients. Psychiatrists can work for agencies, hospitals, or in private practice and are seen by clients who require medication to curb the effects of a mental diagnosis.
Go to them if: You would like a medical diagnosis and medication to curb the effects of a mental illness. Those who have a mental illness that is a result of a chemical imbalance could benefit from medication provided by a psychiatrist and additional emotional and behavioral treatment from a therapist.
Psychologists study the mind and human behavior. There are many specialties with in the field of psychology with some physiologists being researchers who focus on gathering data to explain human behavior. Counseling psychologists utilize assessments or testing as well as psychotherapy to help clients modify their lives to help cope with the problems they may have. Psychologists work in centers, universities, hospitals, group or private practices.
Go to them if: You would like some behavioral modification work or assessment regarding issues.
Social Workers interact with individuals and families, especially those who are disadvantaged, in coping with the stressors of their client's lives specifically those pertaining to a person's community. Even though Social Workers can practice as counselors and therapists their role in the field of mental health include a number of services such as case management, linking clients with agencies and programs that will meet their psychosocial needs. Social workers can be in private practice but also work in a variety of settings including hospitals, community centers, and social service agencies.
Go to them if: You have an issue that is pertaining to acquiring resources around inadequate housing, lack of job skills, financial distress, disability, and other issues that may require additional services outside of therapy.
Marriage & Family Therapists
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) specialize in exploring and improving the quality of your relationships with family, friends, romantic partners and other people you come into contact with. MFTs believe that you are a part of many relationship systems and that the quality of all your relationships are impacted by your past interactions with others. With a mininum of a master's degree and two years of supervised clinical experience, MFTs use well-studied and effective interventions to change the lives of individuals, couples and families. MFTs can be found in private practice as well as hospitals and agencies.
Go to them if: You would like help with improving your romantic relationships, family and friendships. Going through an emotionally stressful life change such as divorce, death of a loved one or moving in with a partner(s). MFTs also specialize in premarital counseling, medical family therapy, Childhood Behavioral and Emotional Disorders as well as life coaching.
The various types of therapists have a lot to offer you, so hopefully the above guide can make the process of finding one less overwhelming. If you feel as if going to an MFT is a good fit for you, click on Philadelphia MFT's contact tab or email us at contact@philadelphiaMFT.com to schedule an appointment.
Enjoy the upcoming July 4th Holiday!
This "Topic of the Week" was written by Alanna Gardner, MFT