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If you’re reading this web page, you’re thinking about seeking some help for whatever is challenging to you in your life right now. It can be a big step to reach out for help and deciding who to see can feel a bit overwhelming. There are so many people offering so many different kinds of help and particularly if you are using the Internet to look for websites, it can be confusing to discern who has what credentials and who can be helpful to you.

You will find people offering services who call themselves life coaches, psychotherapists, psychologists, counselors, clinical social workers, and healers. There is a wide array of letters that people can have following their names that mean many different things. How can you tell who is qualified and who the right person for you?

A clinically trained professional with at least a master's degree in a professional mental health discipline (psychology, counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy) and who is licensed by the state in which they practice is the best place to begin. National certifications are an added credential that requires that a person meets the highest standards of continuing education and ethical guidelines for their field. The education and training required to be state licensed and nationally certified helps to insure that a professional has a deep understanding of many theoretical perspectives of human development and change, as well as years of experience working with people dealing with life's most challenging issues.

There are many types of therapy and professionals sometimes specialize in one therapeutic approach or one particular issue (for example, a Cognitive Behavioral therapist who specializes in eating disorders.) I, myself, draw from many theoretical perspectives and work with many different issues. Often, examining how you developed your patterns of coping and beginning to truly understand yourself is the key to lasting change. Psychotherapy can help you gain this understanding. A good professional therapist will provide compassionate and empathic help and support while offering objective thoughts and suggestions that are rooted in years of training and experience.

Here's a link to a page that explains what some of those letters you might find after a practitioners name mean.

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