Types of Mental Health Professionals - LGBTQIA Healthcare Guild

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Types of Mental Health Professionals


“We have discovered that a signature profile for a counselor does not exist.  According to Sexton (1999), neither demographic variables (e.g. race, gender, age, and cultural background) nor professional identity (counseling, psychology, or social work) have significant impact on the outcome of counseling as a process.  What may be even more surprising is that researchers have found that years of professional experience are also unrelated to counseling outcome... the number of years of experience does not always transfer to increased skill... In our profession, we have found that counselors’ level of skill, their cognitive complexity, and their ability to relate to their clients are the key elements that affect counseling outcomes (Sexton, 1999).”

(Cited from: Sheperis, C. J.  (2010)  Contemporary Issues in Counseling Research.  In Sheperis, C. J., Young, J. S., & Daniels, M. H. (Eds.). Counseling research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.)


  1. Psychiatrist and Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist, (MD, DO) - medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses. Like other doctors, psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medication. Qualifications: state license and board eligible or certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

  2. Licensed Clinical or Counseling Psychologist, LP, LCP, (PhD, PsyD, EdD) - Psychologist with a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology and 4-7 years supervised clinical experience, including a year long internship. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group therapy. Qualifications: and for some psychologists, credentialing as a health service provider in psychology.

  3. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or Certified Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, APRN, CNP (MS, DNP) - Nurse Practitioners are Registered Nurses who have completed extensive additional education, training, and have a dramatically expanded scope of practice over the traditional RN role.  In addition to health care services, NPs make prevention, wellness, and patient education a priority.  They are also often active in patient advocacy activities.

  4. Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist or Therapist, LCP, LCT (MS, MA) - A Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist or Therapist holds a master's degree or a Ph.D., often in the field of Psychology or Counseling and 2 years of supervised clinical experience.  Trained to diagnose and provide individual, group or family counseling.  Qualifications: national exam, state license, similar to LCSW and LPC.

  5. Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW, LSCSW (MSW) - Counselor with a masters degree in social work from an accredited graduate program and 2 years supervised clinical experience. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Qualifications: national exam, state license; may be member of the National Association of Social Workers.

  6. Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Professional Counselor, or Clinical Mental Health Counselor, LPC, LCPC, LMHC, CCMHC, NCC (MS, MA) - Counselor with a masters degree in psychology, counseling or a related field, and 2 years supervised clinical experience. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Qualifications: national exam, state license; may be a member of the American Counseling Association or American Mental Health Counselors Association.

  7. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT, LCMFT (MS, MA) - A counselor with a masters degree, with special education and training in marital and family therapy. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Qualifications: national exam, state license

  8. Registered Psychiatric Nurse, RN (AN, BSN) - A registered nurse who is trained in the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Qualifications: certification, state license.

  9. Licensed Pastoral Counselor or Psychotherapist or Certified Clinical Pastoral Therapist, LpastC, LPP, CCPT - Clergy with training in clinical pastoral education Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling.  Pastoral Counselors may hold any of the above training as well, such as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Qualifications: certification, state license

  10. National Certified School or Certified Vocational Evaluation Counselor, NCSC, CVE - Counselor with a masters degree in school counseling.  Trained to provide individuals with career, personal, social and educational counseling.  Qualifications: national exam, state license

  11. Certified or Licensed Addiction Counselor (See specialities Below) - Counselor with specific clinical training in addictions, including alcohol and drug abuse. Trained to diagnose and provide individual and group counseling. Qualifications: state license


Mental Health Abbreviations

AASECT - American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists

ABPP - American Board of Professional Psychology

ACA - American Counseling Association

ALGBTIC - Association of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Issues in Counseling

APA - American Psychological Association

ACC - Associate Certified Coach

ACES - Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors

ACS - Approved Clinical Supervisor

ACSW - Academy of Certified Social Workers

AN - Associates of Nursing (2 years of post-high school education)

BA - Bachelor of Arts (4 years of post-high school education)

BS - Bachelor of Science (4 years of post-high school education)

BSC - Bachelor of Science in Chiropractic (5 years of post-high school education)

BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing (4 years of post-high school education)

CAMT - Certified Anger Management Therapist

CAS - Certificate of Advanced Studies

CCAA  Certified Career Assessment Associate

CCMHC - Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor

CCPT - Certified Clinical Pastoral Therapist

CDVT - Certified Domestic Violence Therapist

CEAP - Certified Employee Assistance Professional

CFSW - Certified Financial Social Worker

CGP - Certified Group Psychotherapist

CGT - Certified Grief Therapist

CHt - Clinical Hypnotherapist

CpastC - Certified Pastoral Counselor

CPC - Certified Professional Counselor (or Pastoral Chaplain)

CSMT - Certified Stress Management Therapist

CST - Certified Sex Therapist

CSW-G - Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology

CVE  - Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist

CWA - Certified Work Adjustment Specialist

DC - Doctor of Chiropractic (8 years of post-high school education)

DDS- Doctor of Dental Surgery (8 years of post-high school education)

DO - Doctor of Osteopathy (8 years of post-high school education)

EdD - Educational Doctorate (8 years of post-high school education)

EdS - Educational Specialist Degree (7 years of post-high school education)

EMDRIA - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association

LCMFT - Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist

LCMHC - Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor


LCP - Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist

LCPC - Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

LCT - Licensed Clinical Therapist

LICSW - Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

LMFC - Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor

LMFT - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

LMHC - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

LMSW - Licensed Master Social Worker

LPAT - Licensed Professional Art Therapist

LpastC - Licensed Pastoral Counselor

LPC - Licensed Professional Counselor

LPCMH - Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health

LPP - Licensed Pastoral Psychotherapist

LSCSW - Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker

LLP - Limited Licensed Psychologist - Psychologist who is working towards full licensure (in some cases only holds a masters degree).  This person must practice only under the supervision of a fully licensed psychologist.

MA - Masters of Arts (6 years of post-high school education)

MD - Medical Doctor (8 years of post-high school education)

MDiv - Masters of Divinity (6 years of post-high school education)

MEd - Masters in Education (6 years of post-high school education)

MPT - Masters in Physical Therapy (6 years of post-high school education)

MS - Masters of Science (6 years of post-high school education)

MSC - Masters of Science in Chiropractic (6 years of post-high school education)

MSED - Masters of Science in Education (6 years of post-high school education)

MSW - Masters of Social Work (6 years of post-high school education)

NASW - National Association of Social Workers

NBCC - National Board of Certified Counselors

NCC - National Certified Counselor (NBCC)

NCSC - National Certified School Counselor

NBCCH - National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

PhD - Philosophy Doctorate (8 years of post-high school education)

PLPC - Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor

PsyA - PsychoAnalyst

PsyD - Doctor of Psychology (8 years of post-high school education)

RN - Registered Nurse

RPT - Registered Play Therapist

RPT - S - Registered Play Therapist Supervisor


National Association of Drug and Alcohol Interventionists (NADAI)


CAC - Certified Addictions Counselor (Levels I, II, III)

CAMT - Certified Anger Management Therapist (C.A.M.T.)

CAT - Certified Addiction Therapist (Levels I, II, III, & IV)

CCA - Certified Counselor Assistant 1 (C.C.A.)

CCS - Certified Clinical Supervisor (C.C.S.)

CCT - Certified Clinical Therapist (C.C.T.)

CDAC - Certified Doctorate of Addictions Clinician (C.D.A.C.)

CDDC - Certified Dual Diagnosis Clinician (C.D.D.C.)

CMAC - Certified Master Addictions Counselor (Levels I, II, III, & IV)

CMRC - Certified Master Recovery Coach

CMRE - Certified Master Recovery Escort

CMHC - Certified Mental Health Counselor (C.M.H.C.)

CNAC - Certified National Addictions Counselor (Levels I, II, III)

CNDAI - Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionist (C.N.D.A.I.)

CNDCS - Certified National Drug Counselor Specialist (C.N.D.C.S.)

CNDDA - Certified National Drug & Alcohol Assessor (C.N. D.A.A.)

CNFC - Certified National Forensic Counselor (C.N.F.C.)

CNFCS - Certified National Family Crisis Specialist (C.N.F.C.S.)

CGT - Certified Grief Therapist (C.G.T.)

CNMI - Certified National Master Instructor (C.N.M.I.)

CNPS - Certified National Prevention Specialist (C.N.P.S.)

CNRHM - Certified National Recovery Home Manager (C.N.R.H.M.)

CNRHS - Certified Recovery Home Specialist (C.N.R.H.S.)

CSMT - Certified Stress Management Therapist (C.S.M.T.)

NCPC - National Certified Pastoral Counselor


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