Which Behavioral Health Professional Is Right For You?

There are many types of behavioral health professionals

Finding the right one for you may require some research.

In order to choose the best behavioral health care provider for your needs, it is a good idea to describe the symptoms and/or problems to your primary care physician first. He or she can suggest the type of behavioral health professional you should call.

You can also begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a preference for one particular kind of training or educational background? Behavioral health care providers come from a number of different educational backgrounds and may be psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, advanced practice nurses or clinical nurse specialists, or they may have another kind of background or training.
  • Is it important to you that the counselor be legally authorized to prescribe drug treatment if necessary? Only therapists with certain educational backgrounds and licenses are legally allowed to prescribe medications.
  • Do you have a preference for a male or female therapist, or is this not important to you?

Types of behavioral health care providers

Who can prescribe psychiatric medication for me?

Either Psychiatric Nurse Clinical Specialists or Psychiatrists are able to prescribe psychiatric medication. Some Primary Care Physicians and Nurse Practitioners may also prescribe basic psychiatric medications although for more complex situations, some prefer that an evaluation and medication prescription be written by a behavioral health practitioner.

Who can I see for counseling?

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers, Psychologists, Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are all qualified to provide behavioral health counseling. Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors work specifically with persons around substance use disorder. Board Certified Behavior Analysts work to develop behavioral programs for individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities.