What Do All Those Acronyms After Your Name Mean?

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In the helping profession, many of us have different credentials and qualifications that are foreign to those who are seeking help. Therapy Hive is a collaborative community of helping professionals that are committed to working together to help with mental and developmental disabilities and illnesses.  It is hard to know exactly who to ask for help, when its hard to know what the people you are asking, do!  This short, and non-exhaustive list, may help clarify who can help, and how.

In the state of Texas, which is where Therapy Hive was founded, certain licenses to practice carry specific responsibilities and limitations. These descriptions may not necessarily translate to all states, and it is the responsibility of the license holder to follow state specific laws and regulations.

MD/DO: This is a medical doctor (MD), or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).  In the world of mental health, likely a psychiatrist or a prescriber of psychotropic medications would have these qualifications.  Not all psychiatrists provide therapy, and many appreciate the collaboration and opportunity to work with talk-therapists, as talk therapy and medicine combined are often effective treatment recommendations.

PhD/PsyD: A PhD is a doctor of philosophy and a PsyD is a doctor of psychology.  In Texas, it is required to have a doctoral level degree to call yourself a “psychologist” and a person with this qualification will have completed at least 4 years of training, including an internship, and a year of post-doctoral study to become licensed as a psychologist.  A psychologist can provide therapy, as well as psychological testing.  Not every person with a PhD is a psychologist, as this is a specific designation and licensure, and individuals with PhD in counseling may be an LPC (see below).

ABPP: The initials ABPP after a psychologists name signifies board certification.  A psychologist who wants to demonstrate specialization and competence in a specific area would likely be board certified.  A neuropsychologist (a psychologist who has undergone additional training in the area of neuropsychology, and can perform specific neuropsychological testing) would likely have ABPP after their name and credentials.

LPC: This stands for Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas, and represents a minimum of a masters level provider who has completed training in therapy techniques and internship hours.  This person can engage in a variety of counseling techniques including play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), etc.  A person who is undergoing their internship hours for their LPC will be an LPC-I, or Licensed Professional Counselor Intern.

LCSW: This is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  The services that an LCSW provides is often similar to an LPC, though the training and methods of getting to this licensure may be different.

LMFT:  This is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  This is also similar to an LPC services in terms of what can be offered therapeutically, though an LMFT may have a greater interest in providing marital or family therapy.

LCDC:  This is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.  An LCDC is only required to have an associates degree or higher, and an LCDC Intern requires only a high school diploma.  Typically an LCDC needs to work in conjunction with other specializations or may have this designation in addition to other qualifications, such as an LPC or LCSW.

BCBA: This stands for Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  This is the graduate level certification of an independent practitioner in the area of behavior analysis, a treatment for behavioral difficulties and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

RPT: This is a Registered Play Therapist.  This is typically a masters level or higher provider who has completed additional training and supervision in the area of play therapy.

RBT: This is a Registered Behavioral Technician.  This person has a high school diploma and works closely under the BCBA (see above) to implement behavioral therapy.

SLP: This is a Speech-Language Pathologist.  A masters degree or higher indicates that this person has specific training and expertise in oral motor, expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language therapy and evaluation.

OT: This is an Occupational Therapist, a professional who works with a person’s fine motor, sensory, and vestibular system.  This is similar to a PT: or Physical Therapist, who works with gross motor functions.

RD/LD: A Registered Dietitian or Licensed Dietitian can help with nutritional intake and wellness.

Hopefully this very brief overview helps when making the decision of how to ask for help, and who to ask!  Be sure to check out our advanced search to find the help you need, today!

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