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Body Watch : Licensed to Heal

August 29, 1995|LESLIE KNOWLTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Need someone to talk to, but not sure who's who in today's smorgasbord of mental health professions, what with its alphabet soup of degrees, licenses and credentials?

Here are snapshots of five major mental health professions, ranging from long-term psychoanalysis to shorter-term therapies.

* Who They Are: Psychiatrists

* Job Description: Physicians who specialize in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness and emotional problems. (As medical doctors, they prescribe drugs.)

* When Established: 1840s.

* What Comes After Their Names: M.D.

* How Many Are Out There: 45,000.

* What They Earn From Private Practice, on Average: $102,800.

* Training: Four years of medical school plus four or more years of clinical residency.

* Who Controls Them: They must be licensed by state medical boards to practice medicine. (An M.D. may practice psychiatry, with or without psychiatry training.) They may be board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

* Number of Times You'll Probably Go for Treatment: 24.

* What They'll Probably Charge You Each Time: $120.

* For Information: American Psychiatric Assn.: (202) 682-6000.

*

* Who They Are: Clinical psychologists.

* Job Description: Psychologists who specialize in psychotherapy, human behavior and mental health assessment.

* When Established: Late 1940s.

* What Comes After Their Names: Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D.

* How Many Are Out There: 60,000.

* What They Earn From Private Practice, on Average: $75,000.

* Training: Four years of graduate school training in clinical, counseling or school psychology, plus at least two years of postdoctoral internship and supervised experience.

* Who Controls Them: They must be certified or licensed in all 50 states.

* Number of Times You'll Probably Go for Treatment: 20.

* What They'll Probably Charge You Each Time: $95.

* For Information: American Psychological Assn.: (202) 336-5500

*

* Who They Are: Clinical social workers.

* Job Description: Social workers who specialize in treatment and prevention of psychosocial dysfunction, disability or impairment, including emotional and mental disorders.

* When Established: Early 1950s.

* What Comes After Their Names: M.S.W. plus L.C.S.W. and/or others.

* How Many Are Out There: 80,000.

* What They Earn From Private Practice, on Average: $53,300.

* Training: Two years of graduate study plus at least two years of full-time supervised experience in private or public settings.

* Who Controls Them: They must be certified or licensed in all 50 states; may also be certified by a number of individual professional organizations.

* Number of Times You'll Probably Go for Treatment: 20.

* What They'll Probably Charge You Each Time: $80.

* For Information: National Assn. of Social Workers: (202) 408-8600.

*

* Who They Are: Mental health counselors or licensed professional counselors.

* Job Description: Counselors who diagnose and treat emotional disorders with emphasis on personal strengths and career and lifestyle adjustment.

* When Established: 1950s.

* What Comes After Their Names: M.A., M.S., Ph.D. plus M.F.C.C., L.M.H.C., L.P.C., others.

* How Many Are Out There: 77,200.

* What They Earn From Private Practice, on Average: $45,200.

* Training: At least two years of graduate school work in counseling plus minimum two years post-masters supervised experience.

* Who Controls Them: Thirty-seven states (including California) have licensing or certification. In other states, check for clinical membership in American Assn. for Marriage and Family Therapy.

* Number of Times You'll Probably Go for Treatment: 16.

* What They'll Probably Charge You Each Time: $80.

* For Information: American Mental Health Counselors Assn.: (800) 326-2642

*

* Who They Are: Marriage and family therapists.

* Job Description: Physicians, psychologists, counselors and social workers who have a family systems approach to therapy.

* When Established: started in 1940s, mushroomed in 1970s.

* What Comes After Their Names: Various academic degrees, plus L.M.F.T., C.M.H.T., M.F.C.C., others.

* How Many Are Out There: 50,000.

* What They Earn From Private Practice, on Average: $46,300.

* Training: Two or more years of graduate school in marriage and family-therapy work or equivalent, plus an average of two years' postgraduate internship and supervision.

* Who Controls Them: Forty-one states (including California) plus the District of Columbia require certification or licensure. In other states, check for certification (N.C.C. or C.C.M.H.C.) by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

* Number of Times You'll Probably Go for Treatment: 16.

* What They'll Probably Charge You Each Time: $80.

* For Information: American Assn. for Marriage and Family Therapy: (202) 452-0109.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health; Center for Mental Health Services; Mental Health Policy Resource Center; Psychotherapy Finances, an industry newsletter; associations listed above.

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