Behavioral Health Professionals
BayCare Behavioral Health offers a variety of inpatient, outpatient and community-based programs to help both adults and children. To serve the needs of the community, we’ve partnered with hundreds of trained professionals across the region.
Below are a few of the most common types of mental health professionals you or a loved one may encounter.
A medical doctor who has either a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree and four to five years of training after completing medical school. A psychiatrist specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health disorders which includes mental health and substance use disorders that interfere with life functioning and well-being. Psychiatrists understand the neurological and medical basis of illness and can review medical symptoms, laboratory tests, and evaluate the medication and therapy needs for patients.
Psychologists have doctoral level education and specialize in evaluating and treating patients with behavioral health disorders. This includes psychological evaluation and testing if needed to assess cognitive, personality and specific behavioral health syndromes. Psychologists specialize in understanding a person’s thoughts, behavior and emotions. They may use talk therapy and other similar methods to help treat patients. Typically, psychologists meet with patients on an ongoing basis or specialize in diagnostic and testing consultations.
Psychotherapist is an umbrella term referring to a variety of different types of mental health professionals including both psychologists and therapists. Psychotherapists will often use counseling or talk therapy to treat patients.
Mental Health Counselor
Similar to other mental health professionals, mental health counselors treat patients with mental health issues and are trained to help them achieve mental wellness. Mental health counselors typically meet with patients on a regular, ongoing schedule. They may focus on a particular area of expertise like addiction, trauma or youth. In many cases, a mental health counselor may work in a special setting, such as a school or prison, or they may have their own private practice.
Family and Marriage Counselor
As the name indicates, family and marriage counselors specialize in helping couples and families resolve conflicts and issues. Due to the nature of the counseling, a family and marriage counselor may see patients either individually or as a couple or family group.
Addiction or substance use counselors specialize in helping individuals cope with substance use, gambling or other addictions. They work with patients to understand the underlying issues that may drive addiction as well as offering a treatment plan for recovery.
Social workers have a master’s degree in social work and help people with problems related to social issues such as substance use, domestic violence and child abuse. Social workers also help people get access to social services including housing, employment and medical assistance. Social workers will often specialize in the field focusing on a particular patient type (child, family, seniors) or setting (school or hospital).
If you or a loved one need mental health services, you are not alone. One in five Americans will experience a mental illness in any given year. Asking for help is an important first step. The process may seem overwhelming, but there are local and national resources and teams of care professionals that are willing and able to guide you through the process.
Let us help you navigate the first step.