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TOPIC TITLE: CSW, LCSW, PhD, PsyD..... Do the letters really matter?
Created On 7/19/06 12:25 AM
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Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2006

7/19/06 12:25 AM
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I would like to consult with a mental health professional for the purpose of long-term psychotherapy.
I understand the difference in definition in terms of professional degrees such as CSW, PhD, PsyD, LCSW, MD.
I'd like to know the practical implications of these different degrees.
Under what circumstances would a person specifically seek out the services of a PsyD, for instance.
Does it matter where the professional got her/his training? Or is it enough that the person has a grasp of the human experience?
For the healing and integration of childhood physical abuse and the resultant inability to function currently, is it preferable to seek out one type of professional over another?
Thanks you for your input!


Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.

Posts: 914
Joined: Feb 2005

7/21/06 1:31 AM
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This is a very common question, and unfortunately, it is not so clear cut. I will try to be brief and concise, at the risk of overgeneralizing.

MD is a psychiatrist. The have 4 years of medical school where they are taught general medicine, followed by 3-4 years of a residency, where they specialize in psychiatry. Where they went for residency matters to the degree that their orientation is more medication based, therapy based, or mixed.

CSW, LCSW, etc.- Social workers- Their training can be very different based on whether their training is more clinical, or "concrete services" oriented. Concrete services relates to helping people obtain health, food shelter, and the like.

PhD and PsyD are basically the same- both are Psychologists. Of the three general categories, they often have the most experience and training in providing psychotherapy.

Where people are trained does matter in that it may determine their "theoretical orientation" (ie- analytical, psychodynamic, CBT, etc) and their level of clinical vs. research experience. However, despite all these things, I think who the individual is matters a tremendous amount. Finding the right therapist is like finding a shiddach.
Hope this helps,
A Lynn

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