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If you’re still nervous about it, here are a few more things to know about therapy. In order for a therapist to help you, he or she has to get to know you. So sitting down with a therapist is basically just having a conversation. You have to be able to develop a trusting relationship if you’re going to share your deep-dark-personal stuff, and you get to decide who you feel most comfortable with. If you are unsure of anything; the process, the expectations, the boundaries, just ask. Most therapists aren’t going to try to give you medication. They can’t. Many therapists believe in practicing what they preach, and see their own therapist. Know that going to a therapist doesn’t mean that he or she is going to have all the answers you seek. And, sorry, no magic wand. A therapist isn’t really supposed to tell you what to do, so don’t be afraid of a lecture. Ultimately our goal is to encourage, support, guide, educate, assist, offer perspective, motivate, and sometimes challenge. It’s really not scary, I promise.
Quite simply, a Psychiatrist is an actual MD who can prescribe medication. A Psychologist typically has a doctoral degree, but does not prescribe medication. Mental Health Counselors typically have a Master's degree and do not prescribe medication. Each uses a form of Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy." Patients receiving medication from a Psychiatrist are encouraged to see a Psychologist or Counselor as well to have the ability to discuss in more detail how they are feeling and work on strategies beyond medication to improve their quality of life. Psychologists tend to focus more on psychological testing and diagnosis. Mental Health Counselors tend to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and focus more on day-to-day life management, general stresses, relationship counseling, etc. If you have a more specific question regarding which of these options might be best for you, just ask!