What is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor?

A Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) is a trained and certified mental health practitioner that provides mental health and substance abuse care. They are trained in counseling, psychotherapy, and prevention and work in various settings, such as community mental health centers or private practices.

How are Licensed Mental Health Counselors trained?

LMHCs must have a master’s degree in counseling. Their programs include courses in topics such as psychopathology, counseling theory and practice, assessment, and a supervised internship. At the end of their program, counselors must pass a state approved exam. In order to obtain their license, counselors must complete 3,000 hours of clinical experience under a licensed mental health professional.

Why should I see an LMHC?

An LMHC can provide therapy for most of the same issues a clinical psychologist would. LMHCs, however, are not trained as extensively in testing and diagnosis for mental health disorders as clinical psychologists. There are a variety of reasons to see an LMHC instead of a psychologist. While psychologists receive more school training, this is not always indicative of the professional experience and talent of the clinician. In some situations, mental health counselors may have a wider breadth of clinical experience or expertise. Additionally, therapy is most successful when the therapist and patient build a trusting relationship, something that additional training cannot always confer.