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Psychologist vs LCSW vs LPC


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#1 Sensation

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 11:21 AM

Anyone care to school me on the differences in the professions?
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#2 dreamingagain

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 12:05 PM

A psychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology (could be PhD or PsyD), a licensed professional counselor has a master's degree (usually, maybe it varies from state to state?) in counseling, and a LCSW, usually with a master's degree also, is a social worker trained in psychotherapy and counseling.

All three are sanctioned by state licensure boards, so the requirements might vary a little on the LPNs and LCSWs.

#3 Sensation

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:32 PM

Thanks Dream, I am curious as to how each profession usually "counsels", like is the PHD better at the diagnostic part, or the Social Worker is just about social issues, etc. I have been with a LCSW for a few years and she ended up being NO help in the end.
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#4 dreamingagain

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 07:13 PM

Obviously, a psychologist has more education and usually they deal more with "real" mental illness as opposed to the everyday living problems and such which social workers are more likely to normally handle. So yeah, I think that the PhD is better at the diagnostic part. If you didn't get anything from the LCSW, you should definitely try a psychologist.

Personally I'm a snob and prefer the psychologist all around, but I know that some people have had very good experiences with masters level clinicians. It really depends on the person and what their education/training was like.

ps: lmnop, yikes...
and yeah, I think Dr. Laura is ridiculous, too...her phid is in physiology!

Edited by dreamingagain, 03 March 2006 - 07:13 PM.


#5 olga

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 09:17 PM

Ah, but "Doctor" Laura got a Master's degree in making money!!

hee hee

I saw a CSW years ago when my first marriage was imploding.  She was really good, got me through it and I would use someone like that again for marriage counseling or family dynamics. 

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#6 suzy

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 09:55 PM

In the state in which I live, anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a "psychotherapist".

You can say you are a psychologist only if you have the PhD/PsyD degree and are licenced.

In my state, they do not offer a LPC licence. You can practice individual therapy with a MSW degree and licencing.

Other states have a Master's level degree called Mental Health Counselor. This too is a licensable degree in some states.

And to just add the final touch to the mess that is licensing and standardization of therapists, a new law has recently been passed so that the only people who may hang out a shingle and be licenced and get insurance reimbursement will be PhD/PsyD, MSW(and variants of the MSW) and they are adding the Mental Health Counseling licence. Others who are practicing under other non-licenced degrees will have to meet qualifications for licensure, or they will not be able to practice any more.

So there you go. Oy Vey

suzy

Edited by sepia, 03 July 2007 - 07:04 PM.
removal of full name - tos

***I cannot spell, nor can I type very well, so there will be typos.***

#7 Seldarin

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 10:05 PM

Anyone can hang out a shingle in the US with 'therapist' on it as long as they somehow infer they're part of alternative medicine.
There's one here that's a "Christian Therapist".
She might be Christian, but high school was far as she got as far as the therapist part goes and she didn't even finish that.
Being as she's alternative medicine, she also needs no licensing and can't readily be sued. Plus she charges about 40 bucks per half hour.
Ain't loopholes great?

Wonder if the boards that certify real shrinks actually check to see if it's a diploma mill's work. If not, there's really no point in checking at all.
For a thousand bucks of anyone's money you can get any degree you want. ;)

#8 ncc1701

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 11:56 PM

Heya,

Yah here (Ontario) too, anyone can be a "therapist" or "counselor," but "psychologist" and "social worker" are specific professional licenses.

Psychologists and MSWs have a similar scope of practice, really, but different educations.  Psychology is associated more with psychiatry in school than is social work.

In my experience, psychologists are less anti-psychiatry in general than MSWs.

But they all have their different specializations and approaches, which makes it a big job sometimes getting a good match.

Re. the diploma mills.  This is a real problem.  Maybe less so in some professions than others, b/c us Ontario family docs, for example, had to pass a wack of province-wide and Canada-wide exams to get our licenses.  Plus there are a lot fewer universities in Canada.

My next thearapist is going to be a GP psychotherapist, which is a family doc who does psychotherapy.  Their training can range from no special training to a full 1-2 year fellowship in psychiatry.

This decision is mainly b/c GP psych is mostly covered by OHIP (provincial insurance), which the others are not, and I have no benefits.

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#9 Guest_josh colby_*

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:51 AM

Anyone care to school me on the differences in the professions?

I have looked into this issue. I am a two internships away from graduating with my M.A. in counseling. I will be an LPC. What I have discovered is that there are two different reasons for the differences. Psychologists LLP or LP are trained in assesment more. There is a Masters level psychologist in michigan but this very rare and is being phased out in michigan.

LPCs are trained primarily in individual and group therapy. The whole degree is focussed various therapuetic techniques and special populations. They are the Masters leve therapists in most states. They are not as common for two reasons. The LPC license is new when compared to psychologists and social workers, and their lobby is not as strong politically. It is likely that a masters level social worker working as a therapist has not had as extensive training in therapy as an LPC.

The MSW tends to be very broad and functionally can be used in many contexts. However, this is more a function of the history and political power behind the MSW as opposed to a reflection of the actual skill and expertise of the counselors holding that license.

Give an LPC a try, they are affordable and highly skilled. If you need testing that can be outsourced.

#10 CrazyBeautiful

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 11:05 AM

I think it depends on the person's therapeutic style and their level of experience. The initials after their name don't mean much, as long as they are at least an LPC, PSY.D/ph.D, or LCSW. I do think though that social workers aren't trained in the more scientific aspects, but in social aspects of mental health. That is why I got my M.A. in clinical psychology and I"m working on my LPC in my state. I'm just finishing my post master's hours now. I do therapy in this setting (group home) but to be reimbursed for individual therapy by private insurance I need that LPC.
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#11 Guest_John_*

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 02:55 PM

I think it's a great question. I'm an MSW student and I think there are some myths being promoted here. There aren't a whole lot of differences in terms of how LPC's counsel as opposed to LCSW's. Any differences that do exist are likely a result of individual programs and not the professions as a whole. They use generally the same counseling theories and modalities. Social workers are probably more likely to consider the person and their environment as a source of distress and not just look at the individual's "problem" as existing just between their two ears. Social workers may also be activists outside of their counseling. MSW programs typically require more credits than professional counseling programs. Studies typically show that phd level psychologists are no better than masters-level practiioners. In my state, Missouri, LCSW's can diagnose, but LPC's cannot. If someone doesn't like their counselor, it's likely not because of the letters after their name and I wouldn't swear on any single profession.

#12 Guest_John_*

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 03:01 PM

The MSW degree can be broad, but people interested in therapy fill their degree with all the therapy classes possible. LCSW's are just as qualified to treat individuals with severe mental illnesses. A lot of people pick the MSW degree over the MA in counseling or whatever because LCSW's can be licensed in all 50 states to perform psychotherapy, whereas some states will not allow master's level psychologists to do so (meaning you'd have to have a phd). Many insurance companies prefer to reimburse LCSW's for counseling as opposed to LPC's. Governmental agencies and hospital's typically prefer LCSW's as well because they are better equipped to navigate social systems, to help the client in ways beyond just talking (ie case management and taking advantage of the social welfare system), and because of their extensive training in social justice and oppression I would argue that LCSW's are better able to do cross-cultural counseliing. Psychotherapy can be a really elite form of direct practice and not every client wants that.

#13 Guest_KSpsycho_*

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 04:26 PM

The MSW degree can be broad, but people interested in therapy fill their degree with all the therapy classes possible. LCSW's are just as qualified to treat individuals with severe mental illnesses. A lot of people pick the MSW degree over the MA in counseling or whatever because LCSW's can be licensed in all 50 states to perform psychotherapy, whereas some states will not allow master's level psychologists to do so (meaning you'd have to have a phd). Many insurance companies prefer to reimburse LCSW's for counseling as opposed to LPC's. Governmental agencies and hospital's typically prefer LCSW's as well because they are better equipped to navigate social systems, to help the client in ways beyond just talking (ie case management and taking advantage of the social welfare system), and because of their extensive training in social justice and oppression I would argue that LCSW's are better able to do cross-cultural counseliing. Psychotherapy can be a really elite form of direct practice and not every client wants that.


I think what John means by "psychotherapy" being elitist applies more to psychoanalysis or other neo-Freudian psychodynamic approaches. Actually the term "psychotherapy" is generally used to refer to many different perspectives and approaches to "talk therapy," just a few examples of which are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The previous comments are correct in that the research has shown that no one profession (psychologist, social worker, or counselor) is more effective than any other, but what DOES matter is the type of treatment used. Most psychologists with modern training are trained in many of these different techniques and try to use techniques that have been scientifically shown to be more effective with certain problems or specific diagnoses. In my experience it seems that psychologists (Master's level as well as doctorate) tend to have more training in a wider range of techniques. A few states (like Kansas) license master's level psychologists separately, but in many states (like Missouri) master's level psychologists are licensed with an LPC along with professional counselors.

#14 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:47 PM

Anyone care to school me on the differences in the professions?



#15 Guest_I work in the field..._*

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:54 PM

I work in the field and have for about 13 years. I am a master's level educated and trained in COUNSELING psychology. It is my opinion, as well as experience, that LCSW's are NOT trained in psychotherapy, as their trainnig is primarily in the area of helping individuals with housing, food, etc. I feel that because the LCSW's have a larger lobbying group on Capitol Hill, they are able to do third party billing. I have heard fom numerous folks who come to my office about the lack of skill and experience LCSW's have with reagrd to PSYCHOTHERAPY. Please, be careful about who you see. Ask questions like, "What is your theoretical orientation?" "Did you study psychotherapy or social work?"I could go on. I trust you get my point. After all, i hope that if you needed assistance with a toothache, you would make an appointment with a podiatrist.

#16 Silver

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:59 PM

I work in the field and have for about 13 years. I am a master's level educated and trained in COUNSELING psychology. It is my opinion, as well as experience, that LCSW's are NOT trained in psychotherapy, as their trainnig is primarily in the area of helping individuals with housing, food, etc. I feel that because the LCSW's have a larger lobbying group on Capitol Hill, they are able to do third party billing. I have heard fom numerous folks who come to my office about the lack of skill and experience LCSW's have with reagrd to PSYCHOTHERAPY. Please, be careful about who you see. Ask questions like, "What is your theoretical orientation?" "Did you study psychotherapy or social work?"I could go on. I trust you get my point. After all, i hope that if you needed assistance with a toothache, you would make an appointment with a podiatrist.

On the other hand, it's clear you're not trained in anatomy and physiology.

Or other things.



I was going to come in here and write a defense of LCSWs in response to this guest's post. However, I think the guest's writing says more about his or her level of formal education than anything I would have written. So I'll just leave it at that for the time being.
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#17 sorrel

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 07:33 PM

I was just assuming that he/she accidentally left out the word "not."




#18 Karin

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 05:11 AM

You can all burn me if you want....


I have been to:

4 Psychologists... some called themselves "Clinical", other just said "Psychologist".
1 was even a Professor of psychology.
In fact, I even dated a psychologist at one time.

3 Psychiatrists:
2 was at a clinic, who diagnosed me as "manic depressive" (my x dragged me out there at the speed of light! )
1 diagnosed me as bipolar, then decided I'm not. (I shot out of there at the speed of light by myself!)

1 hypnotherapist - she was fabulous and really did good for the specific issue I went to her for.

3 Therapists - whatever they called themselves - their rooms were colour coded nicely.

Lots and lots and thousands of money were spent treating "suppressed long term stress and tension"....

The most benefit to me has been an internet discussion board where I can share my feelings, share my problems, talk to a mindless computer monitor, be totally honest to both myself and my monitor, remember things at my own pace, when it suits me, and not have to look some stranger in the eye and see his/her condemnation for the things I have done. I am not restricted to time, I can talk about anything at any time for as long as I want, even in any colour I want.

I unfortunately probably put up a front of a decent woman, conned every one of the above, apart from the two (gay) psychiatrists, where I had to complete questionnaires and they realised and diagnosed me as manic depressive, and my ex dragged me out of there when they talked lithium.

Here I get advice and opinions from people exactly like me, who understand what I say perfectly, who know what goes on in my head, far better than someone who read about it in a book.

These are my thoughts...

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I don't care what they call it, just give me the pills that make me feel good. 

before: No Meds
 

before that: Bipolar I with psychosis: Lamictal 250; Wellbutrin 300XL; Risperdal; Lily Fluoxitine 3x20 mg
before that: Bipolar II: Lamictal 200 mg; Wellbutrin 300XL; Topomax 50 g; Lily Fluoxitine, 2x 20 mg.

 


#19 Guest_cecilia_*

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:54 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that the LPC is a licensing designation with the MINIMUM educational requirement being a Masters degree on Counseling Psych. (or closely related field). One should not assume that an LPC does not have a Ph.D.

For instance, I have a Masters in Counseling Psych. and was licensed as a Professional Conselor prior to obtaining my Ph.D. in clinical Psychology from an APA accredited school. So I have all the academic training that a Psychologist has - I just am not licensed under my Ph.D. In order for me to complete my post doc hours would have required me to shut down my very busy practice that took me years to build. I receive weekly clinical supervision from a Licensed Psychologist on my own and may be able to use those hours towards post doc requirments.

Bottom line is that there are quite a few out there with Ph.D.'s in Clinical Psychology that are licensed as a Professional Counselor - for many different reasons - and while they may lack the post doc training requirements they do have the same educational training as "Psychologists" and can still hold the designation of Dr. so and so..

#20 Wooster

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:22 PM

Another difference between LPC and LCSW, at least in this state, is that LPCs get to count some or most of their in-school internship hours toward licensure. LCSWs cannot. We have to have 2000+ hours direct work experience, 1000+ direct clinical client contact hours, and 100+ hours of clinical supervision... all POST-grad school before we can even think about sitting for our licensing boards.

It is likely that a masters level social worker working as a therapist has not had as extensive training in therapy as an LPC.

I would argue this is true if and only if the social worker is not licensed. There are lots of MSWs who choose not to get licensed, and these folks may be more likely to have less training in therapy. However, the designation of LCSW (licensed clinical social worker), means 2 years post-graduate work in the field of therapy.

Peace,
Woo

PS- and I totally think the social work lobby is stronger than the LPC lobby, esp. here in Oregon and it sucks ass because I have a great LPC that I have to fight to get my insurance to pay for.

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