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Caregivers: Who they are and what they do

Some 37,000 professionals in Massachusetts have state licenses to provide mental health services. If they have advanced degrees and state authorization to practice without supervision, they are typically covered by major insurance carriers.

PSYCHIATRIST

2,858: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds M.D. degree with psychiatry specialty. They can prescribe medications, as well as provide psychotherapy (talk therapy) services. Licensed and regulated by the Board of Registration of Medicine.

PSYCHOLOGIST

5,469: Total licensed in Mass.

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Holds Doctoral-level credentials, such as Ph.D, Psy.D or Ed.D degrees. They specialize in a wide range of psychotherapy, with some acting as generalists while others have specific expertise. Licensed and regulated by the Board of Registration of Psychologists.

EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST

407: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a master’s degree or doctoral degree in a school of psychology. They deliver services to individuals and groups that promote mental health and learning. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST

715: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or related field. They use psychotherapy to help individuals, couples and families. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals.

MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR

5,219: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or related field. They provide mental health services aimed at prevention and treatment. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals.

PSYCHIATRIC NURSE MENTAL HEALTH CLINICAL SPECIALIST*

895: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds degree in graduate nursing program for this psychiatric specialty. In collaboration with a supervising physician, they can prescribe some medications, and they also can also provide psychotherapy. Licensed by the Massachusetts Nursing Board.

LICENSED INDEPENDENT CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER

12,681: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a master’s or doctoral degree in social work. They work, without supervision, to provide mental health services, as well as help people improve their daily lives, such as helping them find work or housing. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Social Workers.

LICENSED CERTIFIED SOCIAL WORKER

5094: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a master’s or doctoral degree in social work. They work, but only with supervision, to provide mental health and social services. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Social Workers.

LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER

2883: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a bachelor’s degree in social work, or has some college education, plus training in social work. They provide, with supervision, non-clinical social work services. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Social Workers.

LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER ASSOCIATE

1161: Total licensed in Mass.

Holds a bachelor’s degree in any field, or some college with training in social work. Under supervision, they provide social work functions. Licensed by the Board of Registration of Medicine.

*Psychiatric nurse practitioners are similar to psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialists in terms of training and what they can do. The nursing board, however, did not have the total number in this field.

SOURCES: State agencies that oversee these mental health professions, including the Department of Public Health and the Division of Professional Licensure and the Board of Registration of Medicine.
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