What Kind of Mindcare Provider Do You Need?
MindPath Care Centers offers quality, evidence-based mental healthcare or mindcare services thanks to our diverse team of knowledgeable, compassionate providers. Each of these providers has their own unique combination of skills, experience, and education to help you or your loved one meet your goals. At MindPath our providers are a collaborative team who work together to offer patients comprehensive care. This means that you may see multiple providers.
There are many different types of mindcare providers, which can get confusing. This brief primer can help you understand what each type of mindcare provider does. (Please note that these definitions only apply in the United States.)
MindPath Care Centers recognizes that finding the right specialist is a personal and subjective decision. If we do not connect you with the right match the first time, let us know. Our goal is to connect you with a provider who you are completely comfortable with, and we have many excellent providers to choose from!
To get started, first answer a couple questions:
Have you ever taken medication, or do you think you may need it?
If so, we recommend talking with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), a Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner (DNP), a Physician Assistant (PA or PA-C) or a Psychiatrist. Note that our Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants collaborate with Psychiatrist supervisors.
Do you primarily want someone to talk to? Do you want to learn coping skills and help to sort through some challenges?
If yes, then we recommend you get an assessment with a Psychologist, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) / Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), or a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) / Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
If you are not sure what you need, then you can get an initial assessment from any of our providers, and they will help you determine the next step.
For your convenience, most of our providers are available online via Telehealth for appointments.
Types of Mindcare Providers
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who graduated from medical school, like any other physician. Just as a cardiologist receives specific training in heart health, or an oncologist receives specialist training in cancer, a psychiatrist has received special training in mental health and the brain. Psychiatrists can provider psychotherapy, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, order tests, recommend or administer other types of therapies, and manage treatment.
As physicians, psychiatrists can order or perform many different exams that give them a fuller picture of a patient’s physical and mental state. With their education and clinical training, they can understand the complex relationship between physical and mental health, including genetics and family history. Psychiatrists work in many different settings, including private practices, clinics and hospitals, university medical centers, and community or government agencies.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
- Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner (DNP)
- Advanced Practice Nurse (APN)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has also earned either a master’s degree or a doctorate. These advanced degrees give them education and training in specific patient populations, such as pediatrics, or specific types of medicine, such as psychiatry.
PMHNPs, DNPs, APNs and FNPs can examine patients, order diagnostic tests, diagnose many illnesses, and prescribe most types of medications. MindPath’s nurse practitioners work in collaboration with the MindPath psychiatrists.
A physician assistant (PA or PA-C) is a medical professional who has earned a master’s degree and is trained to examine patients, diagnose illnesses, prescribe some medications, and create and manage treatment plans. They may be trained in primary care or a medical specialty, and work in many different healthcare settings, in collaboration with a licensed physician. Besides their master’s degree, PAs must undergo thousands of hours of medical training. Physician assistants at MindPath collaborate with psychiatrists in patient care.
A psychologist is a professional with an advanced degree in psychology, meaning they have studied the human mind, how it works, and how it influences behavior. A psychologist may see patients as a psychotherapist, or they may work in research.
A psychologist can diagnose many mental or behavioral health concerns and can recommend the best treatment. They can provide psychological testing, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and guide a patient toward a better understanding of themselves and help them make healthier decisions. While a psychologist cannot prescribe medication, they may work with, or recommend, a psychiatrist who can.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor / Licensed Professional Counselor
A Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) works with individuals and families, providing professional counseling and mental therapy to help cope with many different challenges. LCMHCs/LPCs usually have a master’s degree in Counseling, followed by additional training to receive a license to operate.
Many LCMHCs/LPCs diagnose illnesses and provide therapy to clients in private practice, but cannot prescribe medication. They have the flexibility to provide or recommend many different approaches or therapies, depending on their client’s specific needs. LCMHCs/LPCs work with a client to establish a professional, trusted relationship and understand their specific situation and needs, and how best to address them.