Many different types of professionals may work with individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists and others. Any of these professionals may be qualified to comment on a particular story, though HIPAA regulations may limit the information about a patient he or she can legally share. There are a number of types of mental health professionals. The following broad definitions are sourced from Psychology Today.
Psychiatrist: A mental health professional able to prescribe psychotropic medications. Some provide emotional therapy as well as medication management.
Psychoanalyst: A specific type of psychotherapist trained to work with both an individual’s unconscious and unconscious mind. The field was founded by Sigmund Freud.
Psychologist: A mental health professional trained in the discipline of psychology and who often does psychological testing and research.Psychotherapist: An umbrella term for mental health professionals trained to treat people for their health problems.
Ask the professional how he or should be identified, based on his or her formal training. Avoid using the word shrink in reference a mental health professional except in a quote.« Back to Glossary Index