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What's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists hold a doctorate degree (PhD or PsyD) in order to become licensed in California. Psychologists provide psychotherapy as well as psychometric assessments. They are trained to evaluate a person’s mental health using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations, and testing in order to diagnose. They are also trained to provide individual, group, couples, and family therapy. They cannot prescribe medications. 

Psychiatrists are doctors (MD) who attend medical school and specialize in psychiatry. Most psychiatrists handle medication management for psychiatric concerns and do not conduct psychotherapy. They can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe and monitor medications. 

What are the differences between counselors and therapists? 

Every state has different designations for mental health professionals. In the state of California, the following licenses are administered and monitored by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS):

LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 

LPCC, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor 

LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker 

LEP, Licensed Educational Psychologist

All of these professionals are Master's level clinicians who are trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. For more information, please go to the BBS website.

I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?

Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.

What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?

The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. 

Medication, Therapy or Both?

Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with therapy. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, it will be different depending on the individual. Dr. Mihlon tailors her therapeutic approach to your specific needs.

How long will it take?

Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.