Your prospective counselor should:
Counselor - a human services professional who deals with human development concerns through support, therapeutic approaches, consultation, evaluation, teaching, and research. Specializations include, but are not limited to, community counselor, gerontologic counselor, spiritual counselor, grief counselor, marriage and family counselor/therapist, mental health counselor, school counselor, and student affairs practitioner. Licensed Professional Counselors. These counselors are required by state licensure laws to have at least a master's degree in counseling and 3,000 hours of post-master's experience. They are either licensed or certified to independently diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders.
Mental Health Professional - A person offering services for the purpose of improving an individual's mental health or to treat mental illness. These professionals include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses as well as other professionals. They often deal with the same illnesses, disorders, conditions, and issues; however their scope of practice often differs. The most significant difference between mental health professionals is education and training.
Therapist - a person with special skills, obtained through education, training, and experience in one or more areas of health care.
Psychiatrist - Doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental or psychiatric illnesses. They have medical training and are licensed to prescribe drugs. They may also go through significant training to conduct psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to change a person's behaviors or thought patterns.
Psychologists - These are doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) experts in psychology. They study the human mind and human behavior and are also trained in counseling, psychotherapy, and psychological testing -- which can help uncover emotional problems you may not realize you have.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - The psychologist's main treatment tool to help people identify and change inaccurate perceptions that they may have of themselves and the world around them. Psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medications. However, they can refer you to a psychiatrist if necessary.
Psychotherapy - Uses a wide range of techniques to change thoughts, feelings, or behaviors in service to enhancing subjective well-being, mental health, and life functioning.
Social Workers - These are specialists that provide social services in health-related settings that now are governed by managed care organizations. Their goal is to enhance and maintain a person's psychological and social functioning -- they provide empathy and counseling on interpersonal problems. Social workers help people function at their best in their environment, and they help people deal with relationships and solve personal and family problems.