What’s the difference between a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and counselor? | Zencare

What’s the difference between a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and counselor?

You can think of mental health providers in 2 main buckets: (1) Psychiatrists and (2) Talk therapists.


“Psychiatrists” include Medical Doctors (MDs and DOs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs). They can prescribe medications and some offer talk therapy as well.


“Talk therapists” include psychologists (PhD or PsyD), social workers (LICSW), counselors (LMHC), and marriage and family therapists (LMFTs). They cannot prescribe medication. While they have different degrees, it’s most important to consider to good fit based on their treatment approach and specialty, rather than their education.


Read more about the difference in provider types.