Can mental health therapists prescribe medication?

WASHINGTON — Today, Louisiana became the second state in the country to obtain a law that authorizes properly trained psychologists to prescribe certain medications for the treatment of mental health disorders. New Mexico was the first state to enact such a law in 2002.One of the most striking differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that psychologists are not doctors. They do not have a medical degree and are not trained in general medicine or prescribing medications. A therapist can only prescribe medication if he has one of the credentials listed above.

According to Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas, a professional such as a mental health counselor or social worker cannot prescribe medication or suggest it. Joint therapy and medications are helpful for many mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction. While different types of mental health physicians differ in significant ways, there is also some overlap between what they are licensed to do, what subjects they specialize in, and how they approach treatment. Family nurse practitioners and mental health professionals should work together to determine a person's best treatment plan.

With their medical training and experience in biology and chemistry, psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to prescribe medications for mental health disorders, as well as to assess the physiological impact of mental illness and order laboratory tests. Toohey, a clinical psychologist and professor at Antioch University in Seattle, encourages patients to seek licensed mental health providers. Working with one of these mental health professionals can lead not only to reduced symptoms, but also to better ways of thinking, feeling, and living. A licensed mental health counselor can provide counseling and therapy to help patients cope with mental health challenges, but, by law, they are not licensed to prescribe or recommend medications.

Northwest Arkansas Psychiatry offers comprehensive and compassionate mental health care for children, adolescents and adults in Northwest Arkansas. If you're still not comfortable after two or three visits, tell your mental health professional and explain why you feel this way. Because psychiatrists are doctors, they can diagnose and prescribe medications for mental health conditions, as well as recommend other medical tests and treatments. The following descriptions provide an overview of what to look for and what credentials to expect from a mental health professional.

Before leaving the office, the mental health professional should describe the treatment plan to you and give you an opportunity to ask you any questions you may have. Most therapists and counselors help patients overcome short- and long-term mental health disorders and emotional problems, and will work with you to find the right treatment plan. For example, a LPC is comparable to a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), or a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC). I would say that this is by far the most common concern I get from people considering mental health treatment for the first time.

In Arkansas, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed clinical social workers provide mental health services.

Diana Anzaldua
Diana Anzaldua

Diana Anzaldua, LCSW - S, TYCT, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher in Central Texas. As the founder and owner of Austin Trauma Therapy Center, she teaches clients new skills for coping and adapting to the daily stresses of life so they can live the life they imagined by connecting them to their true authentic selves. Diana has been featured in industry magazines & websites such as Bustle, Hello Giggles, Yahoo, PBS, Allure, and more. Diana started this website to help answer FAQs for people interested in learning more about therapy around the world!