Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners are educated at the master’s (MSN) or clinical doctorate (DNP) level in a holistic biopsychosocial model of psychiatric & mental health nursing. They are certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and licensed/regulated by their state board of nursing--subject to state laws governing practice and scope of practice. PMHNPs are responsible for assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of mental illnesses including but not limited to depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and ADHD. PMHNPs may conduct physical exams, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, provide individual therapy and write prescriptions. PMHNPs are not physicians. PMHNPs are similar to psychiatrists in that both may provide psychiatric medication management.
A Clinical Psychologist is a professional who has earned a PhD or a PsyD in clinical psychology. In most states, psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but are trained to work with individuals who have mild to severe psychological issues. Psychologists are trained in psychological testing. Some psychologists do not work as therapists, but instead teach at universities or conduct psychological research. You may be referred to a psychologist if formal psychological testing is recommended.
Masters of Social Work (MSW) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) provide psychotherapy services in most states. Many social workers focus on solving social problems and connecting clients with appropriate resources. Marriage and family therapists tend to specialize on interpersonal and family dynamics. If you are seen at Family Psychiatric Care for medication management, we will strongly recommend or may require that you also see an LPC or MSW for individual therapy.
A Psychiatrist is a person who has a medical degree and, unlike most psychologists, MSW’s and LPC’s, can prescribe psychotropic (psychiatric) medication. Many psychiatrists provide only prescriptions and medication management; you would need to see a psychotherapist additionally for talk therapy.