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Are you looking for some mental health assistance for you or your loved one? Here are the professionals you need to know. 

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There are times in your life that you are facing a major issue, and you just want to seek help from a professional. For instance, you see your loved one or a friend struggling with a mental illness, but you are not sure of how you can assist them.

We can all admit that seeking help for mental, relationship or spiritual problems is difficult, unless you seek the help of a professional. However, once you get the right person, it is easier to navigate these issues. Here are some mental health professional you can look out for just in case you need them for times such as these.

Psychologists

The first thing you may think when you hear this word is the scenes in popular culture: a patient lies on a sofa, narrating their problems to a doctor who is sitting on a chair beside them, while the doctor jots everything on a notebook.

While this may be the case sometimes, it I not always the scenario that actually happens. Psychologists do not just want to know how you feel concerning issues in your life – they want to know many other things that are happening.

This is because their field of training includes various disciplines such as studying of emotions, the science of thoughts, and behavior. They also work in a variety of places, including schools (the guidance and counseling department, as well as teachers), private offices, and hospitals. Their training allows them to help you deal with various problems, ranging from mental illnesses to relationship issues, through counseling.

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The other significant difference between them and doctors is that they cannot prescribe medication, although they usually have a doctoral degree.

Psychiatrists

The job of these people is to treat mental, behavioral and emotional disorders. They achieve this through using lab tests (to ascertain your condition), psychiatric medicine, and various physical examinations.

They are usually doctors who have an MD (doctor of medicine) degree, or they may have an OD (doctor of osteopathic medicine) degree.

They will differ from the GP (general practice) doctors, because they can handle more complicated disorders. A GP doctor can handle some disorders and prescribe some medication, but psychiatrists are the best people to go to when the condition you are dealing with is more serious.

Their specialties include handling learning disabilities, dealing with adolescents and children, and also doing forensic psychiatry (dealing with cases involving mental disorder in convicted individuals, hospitals and mental institutions).

Psychoanalysts

These individuals understand and follow the practice and theories of Sigmund Freud to handle mental disorders, through assisting the patient to explore their unconscious or repressed anxieties, impulses and mental difficulties.

They do this through the use of strategies such as interpretation of dreams, free association, and analyzing transference and resistance. Even though this study has its fair share of criticism, many people are finding it to be a helpful tool for them in exploring the hidden issues they have, and helping them know the bad habits they may have.

However, despite the positive things you may hear, be very careful when deciding to see a psychoanalyst. This is because state and federal laws do not protect their credentials or titles – this means anyone can decide to call themselves a psychoanalyst and con numerous people for this service.

Psychiatric nurses

These professionals are nurses that specialize in mental health issues, and they are registered by the state and federal laws. They are best known for maintaining therapeutic relationships with individuals that are seeking help for these problems.

They perform therapy relating to psychological issues, as well as giving patients psychiatric medication. Most of the time, if to all, they usually deal with difficult behaviors that are the result of mental health illnesses. You will also find that they operate under the supervision of medical doctors.

Psychotherapists

This is more of a generalized term, as it refers to the various types of mental health professionals, including therapists and psychologists. All of these professions have one element in common – the use of ‘talking therapy’, or psychotherapy.

The aim of this strategy is to improve both your mental and emotional wellbeing, and there are numerous strategies under psychotherapy. These include group therapy, therapeutic conversations (involve a one-on-one basis), expressive therapy, and so on. The most popular type though is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, which is mostly used in anxiety patients. It is also useful for learning how to change bad emotions, thought patterns and behavior.

Mental health counselors

This is mainly a broad term that describes a person that offers counseling services to patients. They can also include the terms ‘professional’ or ‘licensed’ in their titles.

When seeking them out for help, it is best to ask them about their years of experience, their education in the field, and the types of services they offer – because the term is vague on its own. They can specialize in the fields of family counseling, job stresses, addiction issues, marriage counseling, and general stress.

Addiction counselors

These mainly deal with people who are struggling with various addictions, which is an important factor in mental health treatment. Even though it mostly entails gambling problems and substance abuse, it can also extend to behavior such as hoarding or sexual addictions.

This is normally carried out in a group setting, similar to the method used by AA (alcoholics anonymous). The treatment might also be private, or include your loved ones who are affected by the addiction.

Art therapists

These professionals deal with specific types of therapy, using art forms to encourage people to heal and help with managing mental illnesses. They can use mediums such as sculpture, painting, drawing and writing to help the patient explore their feelings and deal with problems such as addictions and depression.

Final thoughts

If you are seeing it is the best time to go seek the services of a mental health professional, then it is an important decision to make. You therefore need to make the right choice, and choose a professional that helps you stay comfortable and promote your healing journey.

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