Degrees/Types of Therapists

There are various types of degrees and licenses that a therapist can have. Here are the different types broken down:

  • Doctoral-level. Those with Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees have completed doctoral-level programs in psychology, and only they can legally call themselves psychologists. The main difference between the two degrees is that Psy.D. psychologists focused more on clinical work during their doctoral program, while Ph.D psychologists focused more on research work.
  • Master's Level. Those with master's degrees in social work are often called therapists or clinicians, and these often include degrees such as Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Licensed Social Worker (LSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Examples of other master's-level degrees include Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), who focuses specifically on couples and family therapy. 
  • Other degrees. Those with Psychiatrist (MD) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) degrees focus on prescribing medicine, but some also conduct therapy. It is common to work with both a therapist and psychiatrist if you require medication as well.