Just as there are different types of physical health providers who specialize in various areas of medicine, there are also different types of behavioral and mental health providers. Below are brief descriptions of the varying types of clinic behavioral health providers at Lakewood.
A psychologist is a doctoral level provider in psychology, which is the scientific study of the brain and behavior. Psychologists have completed five to seven years of graduate school after college, which includes a one year internship or residency, and one to two years of postdoctoral supervised experience. After all their schooling and interning, a psychologist will have earned a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD or EdD) in psychology. Though not able to prescribe medication, psychologists are trained to conduct evaluations, administer and interpret tests and assessments, and perform psychotherapy. All these services and techniques are chosen by the psychologist to best address each individual’s needs. If medication might be beneficial, the psychologist works closely with the patient’s medical providers to determine the best course of action. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is used by most behavioral health professionals to help treat symptoms of depression, anger or anxiety. These feelings may be chronic (long-term) or short-term. Patients may need help coping with stress, addictions and breaking down barriers that may prohibit them from reaching their goals.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is very similar to a psychiatrist in that they diagnose and treat mental disorders, which can mean prescribing medication, if allowed by the state. A psychiatric nurse practitioner must earn a four year degree in nursing, and then complete either a Master’s of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which includes a minimum of 600 clinical hours. Trained in both the physical and psychological aspects of behavioral health, psychiatric nurse practitioners are able to use their psychological skills to help treat patients with various types of therapy. Using their background in medicine, they can also prescribe medications when it is in the best interest of the patient’s treatment.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
A licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) is a mental health professional who has a master’s degree in social work, and is licensed to practice psychotherapy after having completed two or more years of clinical training. Using the principles of social work, combined with counseling and psychotherapy, clinical social workers help patients achieve better, more satisfying and productive social adjustments to their daily life. Along with providing other services, clinical social workers can also provide case management and work as an advocate for patients and their family. Like psychologists, clinic social workers cannot prescribe medication, so they also work closely with medical providers regarding medication if deemed necessary.