As with in-person mental healthcare, there are many types of certifications to look out for when searching for a therapist online. Below, find a breakdown of the different types of therapists.
Licensed professional counselors (LPC): These therapists have a Master’s degree in counseling and can help with many issues—including substance abuse, behavioral concerns, and mental health struggles—but they may not have as much training in mental health as an LMHC.
Licensed mental health counselors (LMHC): Licensed mental health counselors can address a number of concerns, such as depression, anxiety, stress management, addiction, and more. These professionals have completed licensure requirements (such as exams, supervised fieldwork, etc.) and cannot prescribe medication but can offer counseling and diagnosis.
Marriage and family therapists (LMFT, MFT): The “L” represents completion of licensure requirements such as exams and supervised fieldwork. Marriage and family therapists typically work with couples and families, and cannot prescribe medication but can provide counseling and diagnosis.
Social workers (LCSW, MSW, LGSW, LCSW, LMSW, LCSW-C, LISW, LSW): Any social workers with an “L” in front of their title have completed licensure exams and fieldwork qualifications. Social workers cannot prescribe medications, but can provide counseling and diagnosis.
Psychologists (PhD, PsyD, EdD, MA, or MS): Have completed a PhD, PsyD, EdD, or Master’s program in psychology, including extensive clinical field experience. Psychologists have many different specialties and cannot prescribe medications.
Psychiatrists (MDs or DOs): Psychiatrists have a medical degree and can diagnose conditions and prescribe medication, as well as provide various forms of psychotherapy.