Alphabet Soup

LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, or marriage and family therapy. The primary service is counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups who want to improve their relationships with their partners and/or families. LMFTs can assist with a wide variety of issues ranging from addictions, depression, child behavior and elder concerns.

The terms “marriage, family and child counselors” (MFCCs) and “licensed marriage and family therapists” (LMFTs) are used interchangeably.

LPCC:  Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.  This requires a master’s or doctoral degree that is, according to California law, “counseling or psychotherapy in content.”  Besides the improvement of general mental health, LPCCs provide career counseling.  In 2009, the governor signed the bill allowing California to became the 50th state to license professional counselors.

Marriage and family therapists and professional clinical counselors are licensed by the state of California.  After earning advanced degrees, we have completed at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience, and successfully completed rigorous exams to demonstrate professional competency.  To maintain our licenses, we must complete 36 continuing education hours every two years.

LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker- master’s degree in clinical social work. The LCSW’s primary service is in psychosocial diagnosis, assessment and treatment, client advocacy, consultation, evaluation and research, special knowledge of social resources.

Ph.D/Psy.D, Psychologist: Possesses a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field.  May be licensed as a psychologist or marriage and family therapist to practice therapy or conduct psychological testing and research.

MD/Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry.  Prescribes and monitors psychotropic medications and sometimes offers psychotherapy.