Types of Mental Health Professionals

Many people struggle with stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues. Life can be overwhelming.

Here’s a short guide to the different types of mental health professionals who can help.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor qualified to assess mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. People see a psychiatrist for many reasons, from panic attacks and thoughts of suicide to hearing voices and having frightening visual hallucinations.

It could be long-term feelings of sadness or anxiety that never seem to go away. It’s usually when these things interfere with everyday life that people seek help. Since a psychiatrist is also a medical doctor, they can perform a full range of laboratory tests and psychological tests.

Their training equips them to understand the relationship between genetics, family history, emotional health, and medical illnesses. Then they work with their patient and other professionals to evaluate the data, make a diagnosis, and develop treatment plans.

They may prescribe medications such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Sedatives and anxiolytics
  • Hypnotics
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Stimulants

Psychiatrists often prescribe medications and use them in combination with psychotherapy.

Therapists, Counselors, Clinicians & Social Workers

Many professionals can evaluate a person’s mental health. Therapists, counselors, clinicians, and social workers share some similarities. However, these positions have specific educational requirements, experience, and licensing.

Likewise, each field focuses on specific services. And social workers are the people to go to when you need help finding those services. These trained professionals can conduct evaluations and refer clients.

A clinician is a healthcare provider that works in a clinic or hospital. The term applies to any health professional who works one-on-one with patients to diagnose or treat illness.

Types of clinicians include:

  • Physicians
  • Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Licensed Community Mental Health Counselors
  • Speech-language pathologist

Counselors may have a bachelor’s degree or various certifications, depending on their focus. For example, some states license or certify addiction counselors with an associate’s degree, college credits, seminars, and years of experience working in addictions.

On the other hand, an addiction and behavioral disorder counselor must be licensed and have a master’s degree. Mental health counselors must also have a license to practice. Therapists typically have a master’s degree or higher-level education, while psychologists have a Ph.D., Ed.D., or Psy.D. Doctoral degree in psychology.


Psychologists have clinical skills and professional training to help people with mental health issues. While they don’t prescribe medications, psychologists help clients using individual or group counseling. A psychologist must have a state license to provide services.

They use tests and assessments to diagnose a condition and evaluate personality characteristics, among other things. Psychologists can help with a range of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and mood disorders.

People go to psychologists to learn to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, and manage chronic illness through various forms of therapy, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Interpersonal
  • Humanistic
  • Psychodynamic
  • A combination of therapy styles

A psychologist can also work with primary care physicians, pediatricians, and psychiatrists to provide holistic treatment for people who would benefit from therapy and medication.

Primary Care Physicians and Nurses

Primary care physicians are familiar with a patient’s physical and mental health. They work with nurses who help provide services and maintain updated health records. Mental health professionals such as nurses, therapists, and counselors typically work together with a patient’s primary care physician to determine and prescribe the most effective treatment options.

Like other health care professionals, nurses can specialize in a specific area of medicine. Psychiatric nurses work with patients, their families, and within the community to assess mental health needs. They have the training to make assessments and evaluations, administer medication, offer counseling, and more.

Are You Struggling? You’re Not Alone

At Jonas Hill, we understand what it’s like to feel alone, unheard, and misunderstood. We provide a community-minded spirit of generosity, hope, health, and healing in a beautiful environment. We all feel stress, and sometimes it’s too much to handle alone.

You can use these resources for stress management, crisis services, and help with addiction. Please visit our website to learn more about patient services at Jonas Hill.


Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact us today for more information. A safe space to heal.