More people are starting to take care of their mental health. We’ve seen how important it is to keep it together under constant stress and the damages poor mental health can have on our bodies. Having a healthy mind and body connection can also help patients overcome drug or alcohol addictions.

So, before you or someone you love decides what mental health professional to seek, it’s essential to understand their role. Learn how they can help deal with any particular problem.

Types of Mental Health Counselors

There are different types of mental health counselors, each dedicated to an area of expertise. These are the most common practices for mental health professionals.


Psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in studying our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts to help us solve issues like failed relationships or mental illness. 

There are two types of psychologists: clinical psychologists with a doctoral degree and school psychologists with an advanced degree in psychology. Both kinds of psychologists can provide individual or group therapies. School psychologists tend to work with school staff to optimize their environmental behavior. 

Psychologists evaluate their patient’s mental health through interviews, evaluations, tests, and they also provide counseling.


Psychiatrists are specialists that are dedicated to treating or preventing mental disorders. They rely on psychiatric medicine, exams, or tests to improve their patient’s health. Psychiatrists usually have a doctor of medicine degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. 

Even though they are trained to treat emotional illness, they don’t usually provide counsel to patients. A psychiatrist can also specialize in substance abuse, addictions, and other disorders treatment.

Child or Adolescent Psychiatrists

This type of psychiatrist specializes in providing treatment for young children or adolescents. They can help them with toxic behaviors through medication and evaluations.


Psychoanalysts are characterized for following the psychoanalysis method and approach to therapy. It was first developed by Sigma Freud and consisted of helping patients resolve their internal conflicts through constant analysis. 

Even though it can help patients connect with repressed emotional disturbances, psychoanalysis has its detractors. Since the credential of a psychoanalyst is not protected by law, there can be unlicensed therapists offering their services. Be wary of this.

Psychiatric Nurses

Psychiatric nurses are nurses that specialize in mental health. They oversee the therapeutic relationships of people looking for mental help. Nurses administer medication for patients.


Psychotherapists are mental health professionals that provide the same services as therapists and psychologists. They specialize in talking therapy, in which they try to improve their patient’s mental health through therapeutic conversations. Psychotherapists can also command group therapy sessions if they feel it would improve their patients’ wellbeing.

Psychiatric Pharmacists

Psychiatric pharmacists are pharmacists that specialize in prescribing or recommending medication for mental health care. They evaluate how patients respond to their medication and treatment and determine if they need to modify their initial dosage.

Licensed Professional Counselors

This kind of counselor has a master’s degree in psychology or related fields. They specialize in providing counseling to individual patients or a group of patients.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors tend to have several years of experience in supervised clinical work. They can oversee the different processes and stages of mental health recovery like diagnosis, counseling, or therapy.

Family and Marriage Counselors

These are counselors that specialize In problems that can happen between family members. They can also provide therapy to married couples. They are specialists when it comes to addressing specific issues and providing solutions within the household. This can be achieved through individual or group (more than one person) therapy.

Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

Also known as addiction counselors, they help addiction patients overcome their substance problems like alcohol or drug abuse. They also treat other addictions like gambling, sexual addictions, or hoarding. Addiction counselors often participate in group counseling with loved ones for better results.

Who Is Qualified to Diagnose Mental Illness?

Not all mental health professionals are dedicated or specialized in the same tasks. For example, it’s essential to know who can diagnose mental illness. Here are a few examples of therapists who are qualified to diagnose a mental illness:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Mental health counselors
  • Licensed professional counselors
  • Certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors
  • Nurse psychotherapists
  • Marital and family therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Child or adolescent psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioner

And even if they can diagnose mental illness, few professionals are allowed to give prescriptions to patients. The following are the professionals who can prescribe medication:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Child or adolescent psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric pharmacists
  • Primary care physicians

So before you google any “mental health doctors near me” for therapy, make sure you understand what they can help you with. Choose the right professional based on what you need them for, their specialties, and what difference they can make for your or your loved one’s mental health.