What Are The Different Kinds Of Mental Health Professionals?

mental health therapist

After you transition through the various stages of treatment are complete, you’re ready to make your final transition into independent living. You’ll need to create a safe system of trusted mental health professionals to keep you working on your program of recovery. Here are the different kinds of doctors you might need to work with.


When you first enter treatment, one of the first things you do is meet with a psychiatrist. Primarily, a psychiatrist is responsible for diagnosing you and providing you with any prescriptions you need. Though a psychiatrist can be helpful in hearing out your problems and helping you gauge what is going on, they are not the same as a therapist, though they are qualified to provide such care. You’ll continue seeing a psychiatrist for medication management and to help address any new problems throughout the years.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor of the mind. A psychologist has a doctorate for the mind. It’s confusing, but they’re different. A psychologist will not be able to prescribe medications but they can make an official diagnosis for a mental health disorder. Not all psychologists are therapists. Many become researchers into various disciplines of psychology. However, many psychologists do become therapists, specialized in a certain field, like clinical or social psychology.


A counselor is different from a therapist and counseling is different from therapy. Therapy is goal oriented and committed to creating long term change. Counseling is a short term treatment to help transition through short term problems.

Primary Care Physician

Your primary care physician isn’t really qualified to provide you the mental health treatment you need. However, it is important to maintain a relationship with your primary care doctor. They can help recognize physical symptoms as well as psychological symptoms you might be missing during difficult times. You can talk to a physician and they can help you find a good therapist or psychiatrist.

Often, you will be able to continue working with the team that has been created for you at treatment. Many people travel away from home to seek mental health treatment. Though many relocate and start new lives, most have to return home to their spouses, children, and life responsibilities. Your treatment team will help you develop a transition plan in which you will research professionals in your area and schedule appointments for when you get home. Avalon By The Sea provides a specialized transitional care phase in our continuum of care. Before you leave treatment, you will have everything set in place in order for you to continue living well. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call 1 (888) 958-7511 today.

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