Mental health counseling constitutes the practice of providing mental & emotional support to people navigating difficult situations &/or mental health issues in their lives. Licensed mental health counselors can help determine the best course of action personally suited to a client’s/patient’s needs, values, & goals.
Many counselors regard professional licensure as a key milestone in their professional development, & for many, it’s a step toward increasing opportunities & reaching future career goals.
What is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor &/or Licensed Professional Counselor?
A Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) &/or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) sees people who experience mental, emotional, or behavioral challenges. Counselors combine their educational training with compassion & communication to support & empower their clients/patients.
LMHCs & LPCs can thrive in a range of settings, such as a healthcare practitioner’s office, rehabilitation center, or a mental health practice. Different areas of counseling may work in other facilities - for instance, substance abuse centers for substance abuse counseling.
Qualifications for Licensure
While requirements vary by state, the basic qualifications include the following:
At least a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) or a related field
Postgraduate supervised hours & exam(s) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
Debunking Common Misconceptions about Licensed Mental Health Counselors & Licensed Professional Counselors
Let’s debunk some common misconceptions about LMHCs & LPCsto better understand their profession & role in the mental health sphere.
Misconception: LMHCs & LPCs are not the same as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Fact: A LMHC &/or LPC does differ from a LCSW. First, each professional enters from different studies & disciplines. LMHCs & LPCs may complete a master’s degree program in clinical mental health counseling, whereas LCSWs usually pursue a master’s degree program in social work.
Misconception: Your counselor can write you a prescription for medication. For example , anxiety medications, if you’re enrolled in anxiety counseling.
Fact: LMHCs & LPCs are not able to prescribe medication. However, they can get in contact with other professionals to support their clients/patients as allowed by their licensure while providing medication management services.
Misconception: All counselors are the same, & I should give up if counseling doesn’t help.
Fact: The only similarity between all LMHCs & LPCs is some sort of licensure that qualifies them to offer counseling. Other than that, each counselor is unique, with a diverse range of experience, training, & expertise. If one counselor isn’t the right fit, not all hope is lost. Familiarize yourself with a few different counselors before starting again. The secret lies in a strong therapeutic relationship, based on trust, empathy, & unconditional positive regard.
Get to Know Scott L. Lipp, Ph.D., LMHC, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH
Now that you know the advanced degrees & intensive supervision requirements that go into becoming an LMHC & LPC, meet Dr. Scott L. Lipp.
Dr. Scott L. Lipp has counseling licenses as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) & Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Florida & New Jersey. Learn more about his education & experience that makes him a qualified mental health counselor.
Dr. Scott L. Lipp also owns his own solution-focused counseling practice, Atlantic Counseling for Empowerment, PLLC (ACE).