The full form of LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor. It is the licensure of mental health professionals in many countries. A psychologist is a psychotherapist who provides mental health support for mental health-seeking people. Both of these professionals work for mental health wellbeing.
LPCs are mental healthcare providers for mental illness and substance abuse care. They are precisely trained in treating mental, behavioral, emotional problems and disorders.
They usually can work with groups, families, individuals. But mainly, LPCs make up a large percentage of the workforce for mental healthcare givers working in schools, universities, hospitals, organizations, agencies, mental healthcare centers, etc.
LPCs also sometimes are actively working with active military personnel and their families as well as veterans.
By clinical definition, LPCs are mental healthcare givers with doctoral and master’s educational qualification.
LPC licensure is recognized in the 50 states of the USA and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam; according to the American Counselling Association, there are at least 120,000 active LPCs working across the country.
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Requirements for Becoming an LPC:
Additional to their schooling, different states in the USA demand different licensure procedure in their states; but the most common mixture of obtaining the qualification for an LPC is that of a master’s degree, clinical counseling experience with supervision, and the passing of a National Exam, such as National Counselor Examination (NCE), National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
Some of the basic requirements and experience criteria are given below (According to the Texas State Requirements for LPCs)-
- All LPCs require a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in the field of counseling or any relevant field.
- They must complete academic coursework in the following subjects- 1) Normal human growth and development. 2) Abnormal human behavior. 3) Appraisal or assessment techniques. 4) Counselling theories. 5) Counselling methods and techniques (individual and group). 6) Research. 7) Lifestyle and career development. 8) Social, cultural and family issues. 9) Professional orientation theories.
- A supervised practicum experience is needed, primarily counseling in nature; it is also a part of the graduation process. It will need to be at least 300 hours with a minimum of 100 hours of direct client contact. The Academic Credit for the practicum must appear in the applicant’s transcript.
- After completing graduation, an applicant must take part and pass the National Counselor Exam and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam (valid only for the applicants in the state of Texas, USA). After passing those, the applicants will be granted a temporary license of LPC from the board; with this, they may begin practising the supervised post-graduation counseling experience or their internship. At least 3000 clock hours and 1500 clock hours with direct contact with client experience are required under a board-approved supervisor. The internship experience should take at least 18 months for the applicant to finish.
- They should also adhere to the code of ethics by their state licensure authority.
For knowing more about the qualifications of becoming an LPC, visit at- How to become an LPC?
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What do LPCs do?
LPCs work in various organizations, and they can also open up their personal practice if they want, so the scope of their work and duties are wide-ranged. Their specialty in the field of counseling is- school, family, marriage, substance abuse, and mental health.
The overall scopes and duties of an LPC includes-
- LPCs are required to hold therapy sessions with their clients to assess their client’s needs based on mental and emotional stability along with any other mental condition they may need assistance with. The therapy session which ought to be held can be either individual or group sessions depending on the situation.
- Every client’s problem, situation, story, and need will be different; so, the LPCs are required to come up with pre-planned therapy sessions individually for all their clients, which are tailored to their needs and expectations.
- LPCs are also required to assist the clients in need of further mental healthcare and counseling attention and guide and educate them on it. For example, if a client’s condition is not helped by therapy and they need further treatment for their situation, it is the LPC’s job to advise them to seek a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or another professional in this field.
- LPCs are advised to be sentimental about their client’s needs and requirements as they may need additional therapy sessions with another health professional or in case of attending a court-mandated therapy session.
- LPCs are the safehouse for protecting the client’s legally guarded private matters and clinically noting them down. They may need to collaborate, share, or discuss these matters with other mental healthcare professionals, so it is dutiful to have a clear conception and idea about the client’s condition.
- LPCs are required to have strong communication skills so that their clients can honestly open up to them and share their problems. They also need to have empathy and understanding with their clients to evaluate the client’s condition accurately.
- They must be able to handle stressful situations with keeping both their professional behavior and empathy in case of treating a client. Especially it is critical to keep their legal obligations as professional healthcare givers in very stressful situations.
To know more, give this PDF a read (published by the American Counselling Association)- Licensed Professional Counsellors.
Who are Psychologists?
Someone who studies mental processes and human behaviors by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and the environment is called a psychologist. Although some psychologists are known to work independently with patients and clients, others work with a team of physicians or collaborate with social workers and others to treat illness and promote overall wellness. Psychologists can also work with a range of organizations such as schools, universities, prisons, private clinics, workplaces or sports teams, etc.
In the USA alone, 170,200 psychologists are working at present. As of 2012, the median salary for a psychologist was US $ 69,280.
Psychologists can work with applied or academic settings. Academic psychologists educate higher education students as well as to conduct research in many fields, as graduate-level research is an important part of academic research.
According to American Psychologist’s Association (APA), there are deemed to be 2 types of psychologists primarily, 1) Professionals. 2) Scholars. The professionals handle patients and clients directly, whereas scholars indulge themselves in research and studies.
Requirements for Becoming a Psychologist:
Psychologists aren’t medical doctors, and they are not clinically allowed to prescribe medicine either. Instead, they work alongside medical doctors to help clients. After receiving their licensure, they can provide clinical therapy, psychotherapy, counseling, and testing and treatment to some mental illness.
The primary steps to becoming a psychologist are given below-
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
It is recommended to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject to psychology to become a psychologist, such as social work, psychology, or sociology.
Earn a Master’s or Doctorate in Psychology
Depending on your interest and goals, one can choose to pursue any of the following degrees, 1) PhD- which is research-oriented. 2) Psy.D. – a practical degree for the professional psychologists who want to practice. 3) Ed.D.- Doctor of Education. 4) E.Ds.- Education Specialist.
Complete an Internship or a Post-Doctoral Program
This step is required for those who have completed their master’s or doctoral degree. It is a good opportunity for them to work alongside professional psychologists and gain hands-on experience with them by handling real clients with supervision. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states in the USA require an average of 1,500 to 2,000 hours of training and at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience.
Obtain a Psychology License
The licensure requirements vary per state, and it is good to know the individual requirements for the state that one is applying for. Various state board information can be found at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Once the necessary conditions are met, you’ll need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
Types of Psychologists and What they do:
There can be a wide range of subjects for psychologists to work with. Different psychologists can base their careers on different subjects and practice and research on that particular subject. Some types of psychologists are mentioned below (according to their fields of research and practice)-
- Aviation Psychologists
- Bio Psychologists
- Clinical Psychologists
- Cognitive Psychologists
- Community Psychologists
- Comparative Psychologists
- Consumer Psychologists
- Counseling Psychologists
- Cross-Cultural Psychologists
- Development Psychologists
- Educational Psychologists
- Engineering Psychologists
- Environment Psychologists
- Forensic Psychologists
- Health Psychologists
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
- Military Psychologists
- Personality Psychologists
- School Psychologists
- Social Psychologists
To know more about the various subjects and their workplace and scope of works, visit- 20 Different Types of Psychologists.
LPC Vs. Psychologist: Which one is better?
Depending on the patient’s need and situation, he/she has to decide on which one to consult.
LPCs are specified to work in the field of counseling with individuals, families, and groups. They can diagnose and treat many behavioral disorders with the help of counseling and therapy sessions.
Psychologists are also trained to provide psychotherapy and mental healthcare, but their range of work is wider, and research and study are mandatory in their field.
But it is to be noted that neither an LPC nor a psychologist can clinically prescribe any client or patient any medication because they aren’t allowed to. So, a patient with a severe situation that required specific attention and the help of medication can refrain from seeing both of them.
On the other hand, if someone’s problems are behavioral and emotional, it is better to see an LPC rather than a psychologist. Moreover, if any person of their behavior causes mental distress, any specific problems are good to consult a psychologist.
Above all, it is necessary to understand the depth of one’s problem and the origin in case of deciding whether to consult an LPC or a psychologist before taking any action.
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